The black stripe down the center of the belt signifies the next step is Shodan, or black belt. This means I’m done testing for rank for a while, and it’s up to me to keep going to class, refining my technique, and helping other students until the big test comes.
Ten years ago, I never would have imagined I’d come this far. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since I was 19. (Yeah, I still cringe when I see pictures of myself in a gi or running kata, but I’m working on that, too.) I’m very fortunate to have found a school of this caliber so close to home, one that offers equal measures of instruction and inspiration.
Now I’m going to go cut that obnoxious white label off my snazzy new belt.