The path of a karateka – Gradings

My friend finally achieved his brown belt in the last grading, and it has been really inspiring to see the journey he went through not only prior to the grading but actually in the grading where the harder it got, the better he performed, it was his baptism under fire and when he finally believed in what he could do again his skill levels evolved in the grading.

When we both first met each other we pretty much became instant friends, that is a rare thing to happen to anyone and the only other time it has happened to me was in China when I met this cool guy who instantly became my best friend. Back to my karate friend we both shared the same passion for the art of Goju Ryu which is a rare thing in a beginner as some are just there for fitness, or self-defence or a sport and activity to do, where I and my friend loved the art of Goju Ryu in itself. He was probably my first real friend in Goju Ryu as we were both of a similar Grade (kyu)level to go on our karate journey. We both loved to analysis bits of what we do and let the art form of our karate come out, and we were both able to evolve at a similar rate. So we were both able to share this journey together and help each other to improve, and we are both of the opinion that this is the perfect martial art for us.

Fast forward a few years and after my year of redemption we both still loved Goju Ryu (as we do today) but we both needed a break from it. It’s like when you are writing fantasy stories you love a world you have created very much but you need to create other worlds to let you recharge and be able to put more energy into it. I went to China to finally live a dream and explore other martial arts there, where my friend focused on his private training at home.

We both returned to Goju Ryu at the same time refreshed and with our passions for the art bubbling with enthusiasm, but there was a change whereas I grew in confidence from my experience my friend grew in doubt he should of attempted his brown belt grading before but the fear of achieving it and what the status of it would mean within the club held him back. The longer the wait was the worse the fear became and his skill levels were overshadowed.

In his mind’s eye he didn’t view us as equals any longer and the more his fear held him back, but this is very much part of the journey of a martial art to overcome your fear and demons and let them evolve you.  When it was green lighted that he would go for his brown belt was the next step in his journey, he started focusing on areas he needed, and I helped him with some extra training for his grading. He couldn’t believe that I had 100% confidence in him that he would pass his grading, and I reminded him that it was the same with my last grading after all my injuries.

When he came to the grading there were highs and lows, but it was amazing to see the evolution in the man, when it came to his sparring he started to fight with the speed and confidence that he use to have prior to this big fear, but with far more skill more associated to his true level, it was amazing to see this mix of new with old and to see the real karate ka come out.

What has really changed in him is his confidence, after china he viewed me as a higher grade and would except my opinion over his, now after his evolution he will stand his ground on his view on karate. It’s good to have the old warrior back.


4 Responses to The path of a karateka – Gradings

  1. 🙂 I’m glad that your friend passed his test, and that you helped him with open arms! 🙂

    • djsolly1 says:

      I’m always there to help a friend out. I’ve just started reading your blog, its very good

      • Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoy reading it. I’m interested in what different types of arts have you studied. Seems like you’ve traveled a lot!

      • djsolly1 says:

        I have tried out about 14-15 martial arts, but have properly studied Jiu-Jitsu, Historical Fencing, Goju Ryu, White Crane kung fu and an intensive week of 7 hours a day of Shaolin and an intense week of Baijiquan in China. I also did a month of Capoeira and loved it but I felt like that my head was in a washing machine lol

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