Very soon, I’ll be attending the UK Dan Shim Sa (black belt grading) as a 3rd Dan candidate.
I last tested in 2018…so it’s been a while.
I don’t find that these things become easier over time. However, familiarity with the atmosphere helps understand how to face it and other experiences like it. In many ways, it serves as a good exercise for other aspects in life: moving forward despite the fears and nerves.
With time comes more maturity – or at least I’d like to think that.
During the last few years as a 2nd Dan, I saw great moments of happiness such as reaching a physical peak in my life that I’d never thought possible and building Dojang X – my martial arts club. I also underwent what was arguably some of the worst pains that I’ve ever experienced at this phase of my martial arts journey through injury and a considerable decline in health for a period of time.
The upcoming grading signifies to me an opportunity to exit this period – having learnt and developed in several ways mentally and physically. I certainly feel very different compared to the version of myself who entered the 2nd Dan rank.
Maybe that’s what this process is about when we have a longer time in rank compared to the earlier stages. It’s not just knowing the syllabus to physically demonstrate it well or even a better understanding of the martial art’s philosophy. Perhaps the process at this stage in the martial arts journey is a fusion of these things along with a growing maturity resulting from the different challenges in our daily life.