Two more weeks of black belt cycle, and I may live through them. Three candidates’ classes a week now, focused on learning and honing the performance we’ll put on at the Black Belt Spectacular Graduation.

[Oh yeah. Did I mention? No? Kyoshi Steve LaVallee announced early this year he’s scaling back, focusing on consulting and the South Florida dojos; the New York dojos will operate independently. And almost instantly, things started changing. The kicking man logos, the big one on one wall and the smaller one on another wall and the one on Sensei Bidwell’s jacket, have been removed. The name of the dojo will be changing — I don’t know if it’s official yet but I’ve heard “Impact Martial Arts” is at least under consideration. Awful name, I think, if for no other reason than that there are 16 million other dojos called Impact Martial Arts out there. “Power Weekend” has been renamed “Ultimate Impact Weekend”. And “Black Belt Spectacular”, for no reason I can fathom, is now just “Black Belt Graduation”.]

There’s still the Extra Help class on Monday, and there’s still teaching duties, and I need a fourth class (other than Extra Help) per week so I go Saturdays because I feel obligated to keep up the sparring practice, and this week at least I also went on Friday because, well, it just seemed right.

We’re still running on Saturdays as a team, though this week and last it was about a 3.5 mile “fun run” as a team with additional activities thrown in — today we stopped and did katas a couple of times, and some running up and down steps and step-ups on picnic table benches. And we’re still expected to run during the rest of the week, presumably three more times is still what’s expected though for the past month I’ve done much less due to knee trouble. The knee feels better now, though, and I did run four times this week.

Last Saturday we tried on our new belts for size before sending them off to get the names embroidered on them. We have our new uniforms, red tops and black bottoms with a red stripe down each leg. Sometime before Feb 18 I have to sew a flag patch on the sleeve. One little benefit to all the dojo changes: They’re going to change the team patches, too, so we weren’t issued any with the uniforms. Less sewing to worry about in the short term. Yay.

As of today we’ve learned, or at least been taught, our whole graduation performance. Kind of like learning a kata, only a significantly longer one than any others, and done with other people doing different things, and having only three weeks or so to go from zero to black belt performance quality. My brain hurts. My hip is a little peeved too.

Nearly done, though.



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