I woke up with a feeling of relaxation, envisaging a lazy day. The thoughts from the previous day at work were still there. They normally stay with me for the entire day, at times ensuring I am only physically present at home, not mentally. In the evening, I reached the dojo – my Karate school, which to me is a perfect get away from the stress of the entire week. The thoughts I had made me oblivious of the proceedings at the dojo. After the regular jimi ondo session in which we warm up our body and ready it for the arduous training, Sensei Bahadur announced my name. I suddenly realized I was going to get a Vidori Obi - the Green Belt. I passed the Ro Kyu, the 6th test a couple of days back and when the results were announced I was told I did pretty well.
Having left the training midway 5 years back, the Green Belt to me appeared as attainable as a Film Fare award to Vivek Oberoi. Sensei Mahesh told me I was a half Kuro Obi – a Black Belt. I felt his words would act as a catalyst for me to yearn for more and so I told him this was indeed a huge motivation. Of course, the next goal would be an Ik kyu – the coveted Brown Belt and then the glorious, the magnificent and my ultimate dream - a Sho dan, The Black Belt. To me there is romance associated with Karate and thus with a glimmer in the eye, I took off the orange belt and wore the new Green Belt. I felt I was the centre of the universe with every student staring at me and clapping enthusiastically. I still hear the sharp echo while I write this article (it was the first time I received a belt in front of the entire dojo). The journey was thrilling so far and the testimonial convinced me of my own skills. The anger and deprivation that I may have carried from the daily disappointments of the previous week appeared trivial and the new belt seemed soothing like a balm. Being pertinacious paid off. I would now be setting an example for the younger lot. They’d be looking up to me as a senior. In other words I felt like a super-star, conscious of the significant landmark of my life. I was ecstatic.
I was soon asked to initiate the training where the senior students normally train in the dojo. The senior’s stood in a row facing the junior students so that they can watch them and emulate.
While training, a delicious thought passed my mind. I realized that
I was doing the same things that I did last week and perhaps weeks before. The new senior student testimonial had not made much of a difference.
After the ephemeral ecstasy of the acquisition of the new belt downed itself, I realized that inspite of being a senior student now; I was still learning and trying to perfect the basics. Sensei ensured that we learn new things but still remain in touch with the basics. This was an inescapable fact. We kept doing the standard Tzuki Waza, punching basics and Geri Waza, kicking techniques not once or twice but hundreds of times till we became energetically bankrupt, weary with the battle at hand and the next conquest seemed daunting, but we still continued. I thought I always knew this but was amazed at the way I re-discovered it.
I realized that in Karate and in life, this balance is a key to success. Every time we have to explore unchartered territories, learn new things, and acquire new skills while remaining grounded. Many things are to be learned from here on, I told myself. I would however need to be aware of the high flying thoughts popping up every now and then, capable of distracting my mind and would need to shoot them down. The training would become stringent and I would need to break physical, mental and emotional barriers, set by none other but myself. With the Green already in the kitty, the real act begins now.