Hi, I’m Nez. Karate has been a hobby of mine since October last year, so far I have earned my red belt (9th kyu) on 14th December 2012 and my orange belt (8th kyu) just last Friday, in the Shotokan style. I initially joined the group in order to improve my (lack of) defence skills, however I have come to realise that karate is much more than that.

I now have:
* The confidence to walk around the streets on my own.
* Respect for my teachers. I know one of the clubs black belts outside the club and it has taken him partnering with my for the kumite part of my 8th kyu grading to see him as a teacher.
* Better concentration and focus. I learnt that if I get distracted after saying Oss, I’m likely to end up with a punch in the face lol…or with a concussion if I make the same mistake when being thrown, like in February.
* Better balance and co-ordination.
* It doesn’t matter if I make a mistake or fall over, what matters is that I don’t sulk over it and just try to perfect the move I am learning. Having a calm mind makes that easier.

My fellow red belts, the day before our grading last week (we all passed) asked our sensei if we could take our black belt exam instead when the sensei asked what I thought of this I said:

I don’t want a piece of fabric I didn’t work for, I want a black belt with sentimental value representing the journey and improvement I have made. I don’t deserve it right now, I haven’t earnt it or worked hard enough for it. It would be disrespectful to those who have earnt it. Even if I pass the exam it would be meaningless to me.

Apparently, I said something right for a change. I need to work on my temper though, I’m prone to arguments.

I’ve noticed that not every club uses the same colour belt for each kyu, I find that interesting - and slightly confusing when trying to find grading examples on Youtube.

If all goes well, I should be doing the grading for my yellow belt (7th kyu) in December - break over the summer because I’m part of a university club, will carry on practising though!