Last night Alex was awarded his second-degree black belt!
Normally there’s a ceremony where a group of students who are receiving new belt ranks are all presented together. However, since Alex will be leaving the country (and thus the dojo) in a couple of weeks, the instructors decided to test him a little early.
First he was run through the rigors of their fitness regimen, which consisted of a series of push-ups, planks, crunches, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, burpees, bicycles, and holding the “horse position” for a couple of minutes. It was grueling, but Alex never complained. He just said “Sir!” whenever the instructor ordered him to switch to a different exercise.
Then, sweating from that, he had to face three attackers who all went after him. They were all wearing pads, but he wasn’t. He had to demonstrate his self-defense skills as well as his black-belt moves, fending them off as they came at him from three directions.
Apparently that wasn’t enough– the instructor then called up two more people, and Alex fought five attackers at once. Of course he wasn’t going full-bore, since he could have potentially hurt someone, but he did manage to accidentally sneak in a punch against a teenage girl (also a black belt) to give her a black eye.
Afterward, he was exhausted, but the instructor jumped him and they wrestled a bit as Alex fought him off. The instructor is an ex-Marine who’s very skilled at self-defense, and he wasn’t giving Alex any breaks. I’ve participated in some of the classes with Alex, and I can attest that he’s good. He did a great job resisting the attack.
Finally, Alex demonstrated one of his kata. There are different ones for the various belt ranks, and he chose one of the hardest.
His moves were, as always, very crisp and sharp. He looked good out there.
At last the instructor was satisfied and there was a nice presentation ceremony. Alex received not only a second-degree black belt, but was also given the honor of the first advanced self-defense degree.
The instructors and several other black-belt students all congratulated him with brief speeches, talking about how dedicated Alex was and how much work he put into these classes. And here he is with his awards and new belt!
Following the ceremony, we had some cake and punch. Alex cut the cake with a katana (his weapon of choice).
All in all, this was a pretty big deal and certainly a big moment for Alex. He worked hard for six years to earn this, and he’s sad to leave the dojo. I’m really proud of the skills and discipline it taught him.