Fucking. Ow. I got about five hours sleep, maybe about four actually. Was up at eight, on the mat at ten, off at twelve. Then we had a meeting at which I had a certain sense that I have arrived because today was an instructor’s course; the kind of thing where instructors get together to basically teach teaching and critique each other.

Normally I avoid these things like the plague because, to be honest, I might be a qualified instructor but I don’t really teach so there doesn’t seem to be much point in me going. This time, though, I basically went to do some strategic arse kissing for my grading and squeeze in more training hours with people more senior than myself.

Only something has changed: we’re now an independent association which means that there aren’t twenty or thirty instructors and hopeful instructors there are more like eight and I’m apparently one of them and I’m three weeks away from shodan. So suddenly I find myself in a reasonably senior position. Senior enough that even the principle of the association asks for my input on some things which strictly speaking are above my grade, but then I do have fourteen years of experience to draw on. If you put it like that……….

So I’m thinking that this is something that I can actually contribute to and so I want to get down to more instructor’s courses. I can see this being somewhere where I can really make my mark.

Everything is so amazingly positive right now. I’m sitting here in quite a lot of pain, I’m exhausted but I feel so great. I walk into the dojo and there are these guys who have been training for decades; they’re 4th, 5th, 6th dans and they’re so amazingly upbeat and positive about my grading. They’re happy to see me, they’re enthusiastic and laid back, there’s nothing pretentious about them and they’re all going out of their way to help me and encourage me and it feels amazing. I haven’t felt this way about training in years.

To be quite honest I feel fucking badass and properly fucking elite. I feel like one of the big boys. I go on instructor’s courses, I get asked my opinion, I take dan grade, I survive mock gradings that would kill most people. My peer group are 5th and 6th dans. I’m elite. A lot of this is probably conceit, but it’s healthy conceit as I see it. I feel like I’ve got something back that I haven’t had for years. I’m going to get this dan grade and all the shit that happened at first kyu will be erased.

I wonder is this is like the whole BDSM thing: pain makes the body release endorphins and so you feel epic. Also the lack of sleep is probably inducing mild hypomania. I’m going to be walking on the mat with this in my head. I feel like I can do anything, achieve anything, push myself as hard as I need to. I feel unstoppable.



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