Richard Rohrman-sensei, right, and me
My karate adventure moved a step forward today with my promotion to ikkyu (1-kyu), the level immediately before one tests for shodan, or first-degree black belt.
As with all promotion tests at the dojo where I train, this one was unannounced. When I walked in the door, though, the presence of several black belts, some of whom I haven't seen in a while, was a tip-off. I'm sure glad I ate my breakfast this morning.
I can't begin to describe the benefits I've derived through seven years of training in karate, including more than four in the style I now study, Okinawan Goju-ryu.
The camaraderie and instruction are exceptional, and my doctors have pretty much ascribed my ability to adapt to the rigors of parathyroid cancer in large part to karate. So, you see, my very life depends upon karate, but not in the usual way.
I can't move with the grace and flexibility that I may once have had in greater measure, but to focus on just that would be to lose sight of the meaning of karate completely and hopelessly. It's much more than that.
Passing this test enables me to say that I'm still here despite medical setbacks, and that life continues and the battle we all wage with ourselves is still engaged.
Now, it's time for a nap. I'm exhausted.