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Old 05-22-2009, 08:39 PM   #3
Joe McParland
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Dojo: Sword Mountain Aikido & Zen
Location: Baltimore, MD
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 309
Re: How Should We Conduct a Black Belt Presentation?

This is interesting, because I had received my Aikido blackbelt twice, in very different ways:

The first time, I had moved away from my first dojo's area to pursue work. I was poor and felt out of practice, so I very sadly declined the invitation to come back and test with my peers, saying "I'm not ready.". About a year later, a good friend and peer from the dojo was visiting the area and dropped in on me. At some time in the evening, he told me he had something for me. He pulled out a blackbelt embroidered with my name and handed it to me, saying: "Sensei says to wear this when you are ready."

The second time was years and years later. I started in a different style and was not on the books with the Aikikai, so I took the opportunity to test after a year or so with them. This was small, but formal with an invited senior instructor whom I respect present. Family and friends were present, food was prepared, and we had a bit of a party.

The recognition of rank in the two ways was neither the same nor truly different, but I'll tell you this: I wore that first belt during that second test...

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