Monday, October 20
Shodan to Shoden
Shodan is the black belt rank in aikido. Shoden is BB rank in ki. The test is all about being able to extend ki while having the instructor push on you in various ways. ( in this case Tabata Sensei, the senior instructor of the Oregon Ki Society).
To those who don't train this may sound like gibberish. Let me put it to you this way: imagine you are at the beach floating around in the water up to your chest, enjoying the waves as they gently lift you up like you are a small child. You can handle it because you see the waves coming. Now suppose in your distraction a rogue wave-much bigger than the ones you have enjoyed comes and you only have enough time to think "oh shit" before it hits. That's what it feels like when the instructor comes at you. A big wave of energy comes and you have to stay calm and not lose your balance not matter what.
I passed the test of course, but it was only on the ride back to Eugene with my teacher that I finally felt like a real black belt. I did it, after all these years. it still feels weird to have someone call me sensei and see myself in a hakama when I look in the mirror but I'm here.
I might even be ready to teach now.