At the end of December, just before Christmas, I tested for my Advanced Red, also known as the Red/Black belt and passed. As with many people around that time of year, wrapping up things at work before taking some time off, holiday stuff, overspending on shopping, and spending time with my family took the majority of my time so it’s only just now that I’m caught up enough to bring this up.
This was a very momentous occasion for me. As you know, I’m a firm believer in belts as goals, and this was one that I was aiming at for quite a while. Nearly as much as the Black Belt, I imagined what it would be like to have a Red/Black tied around my waist back when I was brand new to Krav Maga. No, I didn’t obsess about it or any other belt but I aspired to it. It was a big goal of mine for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being because it is the last belt you can achieve in class. After this belt you’re off to Boot Camp to get sharpened up for the three grueling, crushing tests to achieve the rank of Black Belt. That belt at our school is awarded at a special Black Belt ceremony held outside the school at a larger venue in order to accommodate family and friends attending the event. So the Red/Black, in some ways, is a bittersweet event, the passing into a new phase of goals.
The moment was almost surreal as I look back and reflect on it now. In ways similar to graduating high school or college. You are sitting there thinking about how it somehow took forever and yet practically no time at all to get where you are at that very moment. It seemed like it would never arrive when you were training week after week but looking back it seems like you only just started. You’ve learned so much yet you feel like you’ve only begun. So it was with this introspection that I found myself sitting in a row at the front of the dojo with the rest of the graduates, anxiously awaiting my neatly folded, completely sweat-free (for the moment), colorful new belt. (more…)