After I earned my Brown Belt some time ago (7-08!) Teacher pulled aside from time to time to work on my progress towards my next rank or Blackbelt. I say next rank because I was unclear which route he was going to go with my next ranking. On all our other ranks we have to “stripes” between each main rank. So altogether there would be 10 gups – the 10th being the blackbelt. So based on that logic I’m technically I’m a 7th gup.
Our school’s ranking system is based on subjective measure so there’s no hours to watch and no skills to acquire to determine what I need to be working on to gain my next rank. However, Teacher makes it fairly clear that I need to work on two things before he’s ready to test again. Situational awareness and assertiveness.
One thing that agitates Teacher more than anything is someone walking around with their head down and absolutely unaware of the surroundings. I don’t I fit in this category in the extreme sense, but he has caught me texting and walking or just numb and not paying attention – I guess I do fall into that category…
The assertiveness was related to my role in class. Since the belt test he’s slowly allowed to take portions of the class and wants regular reports on interactions with older students as well as new. It’s obviously easier to work with the newer because of the lack of history, but the older ones seem to be coming around. I’m just working hard to concentrate on what I know and stop when I don’t.
He asked how that was affecting my life outside of class. I couldn’t put a finger on it, but I can’t help feel like I’m interacting with folks differently. I have to admit I dealt with some depression this summer and although there was many factors that came into play I wonder if my old roles in relationships were changing and it was causing me some distress.