Tomorrow is my final evaluation before going into black belt training. Tonight, Iíve been thinking about whether or not I really have any intense desire for it.

The rank has always been meaningless to me. Style is meaningless to me. Itís all about understanding body mechanics and use and control over ones own body. This is why Iíve had no problem sacrificing rank over the years for a better school or teacher. This is also why (Iíve been told, and in my opinion) I have more ability than most of the first danís out there.

This past week, Iíve felt a bit sulky because there are so many people who are my rank (or one above) who are so far behind me in ability. Itís so easy to make things about ego, and then let that trip me up, which creates unnecessary suffering.

Yeah, people who have less ability than me get promoted, but itís not about that. If every karate teacher insisted that every student to reach my level of ability before proceeding to the next rank, theyíd lose most of their students. Itís not just a karate school, itís also a business, and I am extremely lucky to have even found someone who has the ability and knowledge to teach me what I want to know.

Not to mislead anyone here, I still have a long way to go. The deeper my understanding of this art goes, the more I realize how much further I have to go.

I can say this stuff about how Iím so much better than people near my own rank because, in the realm of serious practitioners, my rank is so low. When done right, karate is a humbling experience.

Today, I wasnít any good. My balance and timing was horrible. I even got my feet in the wrong spot at one point. I canít believe nerves are getting to me now. How many times have I done this? Iíve lost count.

Oh, and just because I am completely insane, I chose to do a 360 degree back kick to demonstrate breaking technique tomorrow; this wouldnít really be all that insane, if I had practiced the kick at all within the last six months.

Luckily, it will be the last thing I do because I am expecting to miss the board, get my foot caught on it (Iím likely to kick too high), and possibly injure myself.

Iíve been trying to meditate more this week, but itís been sketchy. The little bit Iíve managed, Iíve undoubtedly helped myself.

My sleep has been really bad, lately, but not so bad that Iím getting no rest at all.

Anyway, the reason Iíve been thinking about whether or not I have any desire for the rank is because I think that I can ask that they waive the typical one-year training period and let me do it in six months. Iím sure I am capable of it. Iím just not sure I want to.

Maybe I shouldnít be thinking of it that way. If I am capable of pushing myself harder, then maybe I should be, anyway, regardless of the goal.

You know, Iím terrible at wording, but there is that zen story that ends with a line about it being harder to walk a path when you have one eye on the end or something something something eye and path something something.

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Friday, Sept. 14, 2007 at 11:45 PM