As you can see from the title, I was promoted to blue belt last night at class. As cliché as you may think this sounds, it was completely unexpected. I thought it might happen in December at the gym’s End of Year Party we have here they call Bounenkai. I even believed that it might take longer, like some time next year around Spring. But after class last night, we lined up as usual, F-sensei said his bit about the recent Dumau competition in which K-sensei won and then started talking about how I had been training for over 100 lessons and today was my 101st and that it was time for me to wear a blue belt.
I had mixed feelings of course. It’s nice to be at white and just coast along, trying new things, tapping lots of times, but blue is a notch up and I guess it means that I can at least handle myself using jiu-jitsu. As a side note, I am of the belief that even those that train for competition BJJ have a big advantage in a street fight. As long as they can take a punch or two! On the other hand, I am happy to move away from my sweat and blood stained white belt. It has felt like an eternity sitting around my waist even though it has sentimental value to me. When asked by friends what BJJ is and what rank I am, I no longer sound like a newbie when I reply in a muffled voice that I am white. There is definitely more responsibility with the new rank and I hope it can be an incentive to get me into even better shape. I’m also aware that both white and blue are the beginner grades and will not let it go to my head.
Even though I have a black belt in Kenpo Jiu Jitsu, this blue belt means more to me than that belt ever did. BJJ belts are without a doubt earned unlike other martial arts where quite often little contact is ever had with an opponent. I hope my son can come to be passionate about BJJ as I am.
K-sensei is in Taiwan right now, visiting Makoto at his gym. He asked me a few things about what to say in English, like how to reply to certain phrases. Whenever we spar, we bump fists and slap hands then say “Onegai-shimasu” but I don’t think there is an equivalent in English. He wanted to know what we say. The closest thing would be “Please do me this favour” which just sounds bizarre and archaic. It would probably be equivalent of thanking each other after the roll in the west. “Thanks Buddie, good roll” or something like that. I used to train Pancrase in London for a short time and for the life of me cannot think what we did just before sparring. To do nothing now would feel weird for me. Sort of, as if I am ignoring my training partner and am not acknowledging that I should be thankful he is there so that I can spar with someone. Ah, the humble side of martial arts.
As a side note, I was not the only one to get promoted. Tete-kun became a brown belt. I had a feeling he would be soon but I just thought “Wow” when I saw him wearing it. He deserves it. He’s like a Duracell battery, always going –non stop- ready for the next opponent.
Sparring time: 7 x 6 mins = 42 mins