I finally did it. I did a quick count, and as far as I can tell I’ve started training in seven different martial arts styles in my life (not counting just auditing a teacher or trying something out for a month or two). In all that time, the closest I got to a black belt was a brown belt I received in Isshin Ryu just before my teacher relocated to Pennsylvania. Every time I’ve gotten close before either I moved, my teacher moved, or something truly bizarre happened (one of my teachers had been having an affair, left his wife, and absconded while owing back rent and tuition to several of his students).
Thursday night I finally managed to earn a black belt, and I’m still tripping about it three days later. My test was delayed three hours, so I didn’t finish testing until 11:15 PM. I couldn’t sleep afterward until 2:00 AM and spontaneously woke up two hours later.
I know that my knowledge today isn’t any better than it was last Sunday, and I know that the belt doesn’t really make any difference in what I do every day, but now when I’m talking to a non-martial artist I can tell them that I have a black belt instead of having to explain exactly where I am in my training. And now I can start teaching what I know to others and really start understanding what it is I’ve been doing for the last four years.