I wonder if I will ever feel I deserve to be handed a belt. The simple fact that I question my Sensei's judgement suggests that I have much growing to do.
For my 10-kyu belt I was in and out of consciousness on the floor in the corner, hanging in there with a thimble of water from the cooler while my otagai, John, ran to my car and grabbed my fluids bag.
For my 9-kyu belt I had been helping a friend through a catastrophic life event, which made me late for class, so I spent it on the bench. My Senpai C. invited me to join the class for cool down. I felt it was unfair because I hadn't worked through the class but I never want to second guess anyone's instructions; it is a treasure to have the direction of my leaders. When Sensei handed me my yellow belt I was completely surprised. But the truth is, it's not just about the class session where you test. It's about character, dedication, practice, commitment. I have definitely grown in all of those areas between 10-kyu and 9-kyu. Moreover, I am becoming aware that I have a long way to go.
As I advance I focus faster and harder. I listen more intently to the message and less to each word said. I have learned that I will have to accept my hearing loss and have stopped wearing my hearing aid to class. The feedback and echoes are distracting. I have to ask for demonstrations, and I have a hard time speaking up to ask for them. Perhaps that will change by 8-kyu. Really, it will have to.