My grading for Shodan took place yesterday at Barnsley (many thanks to the people responsible for organising the day).

After hearing the result from Sensei Andy Sherry that I'd made the grade of Shodan, I felt 'light' in mind, body and spirit.  An odd sensation.  I can't remember having felt that combination ... but my short term memory isn't the most reliable.

I've been mulling over the events of that day( and the build up to the grading) since getting back home last night.  The previous blog post outlines some of the deeper issues, so I won't bore you with repetition.

That grading has been my over riding goal for the past two years.  Perhaps it was an idea of revenge against those events of 1995 that stopped me going for Shodan then, that put my life into a complete spin; spurring me on ... not allowing myself to give up on the goal - putting up with the pain and other hurdles that came my way.

I woke up in agony today ... feeling confused and empty.  The goal had been reached and I asked myself, 'What now?'

It made me realise something else about Karate ... it's not just a safety catch against violent action ... it's become a way of life again, as it was in the early 1990s for me.  The emptiness isn't there now because it's been filled with the next goal: Nidan.  The journey to Shodan brought me to Dojo that is 'home' in some way that I can't clearly describe yet.  The support from my fellow Karatekas and Sensei has been tremendous. 

So many people put up barriers against people with mental health issues ... I've found nothing of the sort here ... just camaraderie, mutual respect and support.

My thanks to you all.


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