Contrary to common beliefs, attaining a Black Belt represents the beginning of the journey on the Path of Martial Arts, and not the end. One soon becomes aware of the finer points of breathing, weight shifting, balance and control of the senses. Under the watchful eye of Grand Master Willie Adams, these points were carefully stressed.
The introduction of advanced Kata (forms) in the Isshinryu System - taught only to Shodans and above - gave new meaning and challenges to the learning and practice. In addition, weapons training with the Bo (staff) and Sai further emphasized the need for control and focus while performing the Kata.
Responsibility came in the form of assuming leadership of the new students' development and progress while in the Dojo. The need to be more mindful of (and explain) the techniques and the alternatives to the actions in each Kata expanded my understanding of the wisdom of the Masters who created the Kata and handed them down to Chief Grand Master Shimabuku, Founder of Isshinryu.
On December 16, 2016, after much practice and final testing, I was promoted to Ni Dan (Second Degree Black Belt) at the Southfield Martial Arts Institute. This is another step in the Journey of Karate and of Life and I will strive to move further for as long as I can.