I survived graduation night.
I got recruited to help out, so I spent most of the night lining up the new graduates before they went out onto the mat and helping tie their new belts onto them. This worked out well because it kept me busy rather than sweating my own pending performance. It proved an interesting experience in itself, too, with some of the lower ranks calling me sir and oohing and ahhing when they noticed I had just earned my brown belt.
My own kata went smooth. My biggest concern with Empi Sho is always the leap at the end, and my heel landed in a seam between the mats. Of course I sank right down into it and my leg wobbled. I had a sudden image of falling on my ass in front of the crowd, but I managed to keep my footing and finish the kata. Some friends in the crowd assured me it looked fine.
Either way, Shihan Walker tied my new brown belt around me a moment later and all was right with the world.
There are more pictures from the night on my Flickr account. Some are a little fuzzy because I left my wife with a prime lens and a low aperture without having the time to explain how to manage it. She caught me dropping an elbow on an imaginary opponent during the kata, though, and it’s in focus enough to see I need to concentrate on kicking my heels out a little more in kiba dachi. I’ll blame the nervousness.
I’ll be learning two new kata as a Sankyu: one called Seyunchin, which was only recently added to our curriculum, and Tsue sho, a bo kata. I learned Tsue sho Saturday morning and it’s not particularly difficult, especially after seeing it run in class so many times and having participated in interpretation drills for it with higher ranks. I only found one video of it here; it’s very sloppy so I almost hesitate to link it, but the moves are the same and you’ll get the idea. I hope to learn Seyunchin this week, and this is what I’m in for:
I’ve seen it run several times and have always thought it looked like fun. I suspect it will be a little more difficult to learn, but I’m up for it. If nothing else it will bring more variety to my workouts at home.