For Reals?

Hanshi said it.

He used the word “purple” in conversation with me tonight.

Purple is the belt after green, my current rank. I’d had it in mind that I would be honored to test for it sometime November/December 2009. But now that he’s said it, I think I can expect to test anytime in the next 2 weeks to 4 months. You never know, and when you think you do you’re wrong.

On the way home, I thought about this more and realized that Hanshi’s been testing the water with me for the past two weeks. For instance, I walked in the door one night and he asked me to recite the 23 characteristics of the Shuri Ryu system (which I did).

Last week, he had me demonstrate alongside Nate, a nidan (2nd degree black belt). A few nights ago, we pre-tested Anna for her blue belt, but rather than having me critique her style he had me pretest with her. Then Hanshi asked Anna to step aside and work with Nate, while he worked with me 1-on-1 running through the nuances of kata for another 45 minutes. He did this until the blades on my shuto blocks were shaking, my quads rippled in my horse stance, and sweat seared into my eyes.

And tonight when I walked in the door he asked me to do the 15 animal forms. On my way out the door he looked at me and said:

“Ok. Kihons 1-5. Taezus 1-5. Ippons 1-7. Do you study those? Study those.”

I nodded. (Of course I study them!)

“We’re getting ready to test you for purple belt. It’s about that time. It’s that time for Cy, too [kid’s class].”

So the journey begins. The journey of intensified training and study at home. The journey of not knowing when it will come. The journey of knowing another goal is just around the corner, just another mile further, just a few more punches away. Osu!

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