Yesterday I passed my 4th Kyu grading in Shotokan karate which was special to me for two reasons.
First because I hadn't graded for 9 months after getting ill late in July last year. That really took the wind out of my sails and it's only these last 3 months that I've begun to feel really well again. The second reason is that I actually felt pretty good about this grading.
Most of the time when I've graded I haven't necessarily felt really ready for it. Sensei puts me forward and I trust his judgement and go for it. It felt the same way this time except that - on the day - I really felt up for it and that feeling didn't desert me when the time came and we were up. When I was up there I actually felt okay about it and that I deserved to pass. That's a really good feeling :)
Because I spent so long at 5th Kyu I already know a little of the next kata, Tekki Shodan, so I'm looking forward to honing that, improving my general technique, and working on my speed and stamina. Late 30's (and older) may be entirely the wrong time to start karate but I'm game to keep going as far as I can.
Once more (who knew I'd ever get this far!?) I am grateful to my Sensei, Richard Hughes of TVSK, for his patient and good humored teaching and for running regular, friendly, classes. If you're looking to do karate in Maidenhead, Burnham, Windsor, or Woodly (near Reading) I heartily recommend coming along to watch (or join in!)