Saturday, May 16, 2009

"It's like an Old Friend."


A few months ago, I attended an instructor training seminar at the Federation Honbu. It is always a good event....excellent training and longtime training partners. It was during this session that the subject of my non-regulation obi was discussed.

I only have one belt. It is the same belt that was handed to me when I passed my Shodan test. I should have updated my kobudo patch and added a gold stripe when I received my teachers license in 2002. I wrote a brief post about my obi last year. I have yet to buy an additional belt or update my existing one. I know I should. Each time I pick up the phone to place an order or decide that today will be the day I sew on my new kobudo patch...I hesitate. I like my original belt.

I am not alone in my non-regulation obi status. There are a few of us at the training session and we lightheartedly discussed our obi issue. I asked one of the black belts why he hasn't updated his belt and his answer was immediate.

"It's like an old friend."

His brief answer perfectly summarized how I feel. Is an obi just a piece of fabric that wraps around the waist? Doesn't it represent more than that?

I like the image of karate training being like an old friend. So true with any friendship....it is only as good as the effort you put into it.

5 comments:

mythreemonthokinawadiet said...

Hi, Every week my path crosses with an older Gentleman at the Prefectual Budokan. He is an old Kobudoka. He has had the same belt for about 35 years. He is the father of 9 children and always struggled with money when he was younger. There was a language gap but I understood, the belt is very important to him.

Good luck to you

SueC said...

I think belts are very important - even the coloured belts hold memories. I associate my orange belt with winning my first competiton. My blue belt I associate with hot weather - it was an incredibly hot day grading for that belt. My purple belt I associate with moving up to the senior class and things suddenly getting a lot tougher! I can imagine a black belt held for many years must have lots of memories attached. And if it could talk - what a lot of stories it could tell! rejeenci

Michele said...

Mythree: Thank you for stopping by my blog and sharing the story of the older gentleman Kobudoka.

SueC: Good points and thank you for sharing your colored belt memories.

What is it about hot weather? The oppressive weather is something I remember from one of my testings.

Sensei said...

Well, I had changed four black belts by now and really the feeling was like loosing a friend, even more-a peace of a soul. Also I thank Suec for his beautiful associations.

Hack Shaft said...

My daughter's and mine recently tumbled out of a pile where I'd been storing them after each promotion test. Our system uses a sequence of half-belts, so it's an impressive pile!

I eventually want to make a nice display for each of our various colored belts.

Then again, maybe weaving each set into a sort of tapestry is more suitable, as knowledge gained at each level propagates through the next...