When I showed up to Aikido class on Saturday (3/31/07) I was surprised to find out that I would be testing for shodan (first degree black belt). It was supposed to happen a week later. I wish that I could say that I was as prepared as well as I wanted to be but I wasn’t. The test went well (other than getting very tired). Now I have to get used to practicing in a hakama.
In contrast to what a lot of people think, a black belt is a beginners rank. It means that you have reached a level of competency with the basics and you now have a platform to build upon. The study of the martial arts is a life long journey. I have only been doing this for 5.5 years and I know that I have a lot to learn.