Tag Archives: Grading

Karate And Me – Chapter 4 – From Near Tragedy To Triumph

KARATE AND ME

CHAPTER 4 – FROM NEAR TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH

November 1984 seemed to come around very quickly, it was just four months since my last try at my black belt, that was a miserable attempt and since then I had gone back to training five times a week, it was hard work, but I was determined and Alan was pushing me hard, there were a number of other students of a similar age that were climbing the grades and getting to train with them also, helped to push me on.

But as November started, it all nearly came to an end.

We had a family tradition on Bonfire night, in the half term school holidays, all the kids would go to my Nan’s in the day time, while out parents were at work.  The boys, myself and my two cousins, took responsibility for building the bonfire, I was the youngest at ten, the other two being 14 and 15, the girls took charge of making the Guy and making bonfire toffee with my Nan.

We always made a big bonfire, then on bonfire night, the whole family would descend on my Nan’s, my parents and my Aunty and Uncles would bring a selection of fireworks and we would all enjoy the evening.

This year my cousin decided to add a little extra to the proceedings, somehow he managed to find a recipe to make homemade bangers.  All of the components were available for even a 10 year old like myself to buy over the counter, so we made a number of these in varying sizes.  They worked, in fact the worked better than the over the counter bangers that could be bought at that time, a few years later these would be made illegal, but back then bangers were common at bonfire night.

I wasn’t involved in setting any of them off, my cousin did, I must add, under the supervision of my uncle and at no point was anything considered unsafe.  The night was going well and everyone was enjoying themselves.

As the evening went on I began to feel my eye starting to itch, I rubbed it, but it got worse and worse, getting more irritating as the night went on, eventually I went to my Mum, who took me inside to take a look, then it became obvious that something was wrong.  My eye was far worse than just itchy, my eye lids were red raw!

Immediately my Mum and Dad took me to hospital, surprisingly it was quiet, so we were seen quite quickly.  The nurses in casualty  were concerned and called a Doctor that specialised in eye injuries.

It transpired that both my eye lids were burnt, it would seem that something and probably the sellotape that we used in the bangers had gone into my eye.  The Doctor stated that I was lucky, I must have blinked at that moment, because my eye lids were both burnt, but there was no damage to my eye itself.  Had I not blinked, the melting sellotape would have gone directly into my eye and almost definitely left me blind in that eye.

I had had a lucky escape, just superficial burning, I was sent home with paste to put onto my eye lids at regular intervals, but other than that I was fine, just an eye that was uncomfortable due to the scabbing of both eye lids.

They say things can change in the blink of an eye, I learnt the truth of that sentance on that day.

I went to karate on the next night, it was a normal Tuesday training session, I went only to watch, not take part, my eye still looked a mess, though I could still use it. Alan then broke the news that there was another grading on the Saturday, up in Newcastle, he could get me a lift there and he wanted me to try again.

Between Alan, my Dad and myself it was decided I would go for it again on Saturday, as my eye was mainly just cosmetic and not anything permanent, it wasn’t too much to worry about.

So Saturday morning I left my house about five in the morning, a parent of some of my club mates took me to Lincoln, there I met up with one of the seniors from our Lincoln club, who walked me to his sister’s house and she took us both up to Gateshead, near Newcastle.

We had set off early and then arrived early too, that gave us plenty of time to put in the grading forms, both Simon and myself were grading, so Simon copied the details of my previous grading form and submitted my new forms.

This was only the second time I had trained with Enoeda Sensei, my previous black belt gradings had been under a different examiner.  Enoeda Sensei was an imposing character, he just had that air that he carried with him, he looked serious and really did scare me.  I was on my own in the training, I was with all these kids I didn’t know, whilst Simon trained with the adults.  We practiced a series of moves, in a combination that involved a number of turns, then Sensei requested we get into groups of three.

All the other kids around me obviously knew each other, they all got into groups very quickly and when I looked around there were no other kids to go with, I was on my own.  So I just carried on practicing the combination on my own, whilst everyone else practiced in groups.  That was when I saw Enoeda Sensei coming my way, I panicked, I kept my head down and just did what I was doing as best as I could, after I finished the combination, I looked up to see him stood right next to me, I expected a telling off for not getting into a group with the others, then I saw him smile at me and raise one of his hands to give me a thumbs up.  Wow, I expected being shouted at, I was almost ready to cry, my shy and nervous side was ready to explode, but that smile, that thumbs up, just washed away all those nerves, after that my energy levels seemed to double, I was on cloud nine, I was flying.

There was a bit of waiting around after training, whilst the next group trained, then the grading itself started.  The younger kids were usually first, so I was in one of the first groups of six called up.  My name was called and I took my place in the line before Sensei, then there seemed to be a pause, something was being discussed on the table, then Sensei pointed at me and called me to the table, my heart sunk, all the positivity of the mornings thumbs up was now ebbing away.

I walked to the table, Sensei asked my name, I responded nervously, he asked when I last grading, I told him the it was one year ago, then he asked who old I was, I said I was ten, then he pointed at the paperwork and that smile came over his face once again, with a big laugh in his voice he bellowed out for all to hear;

“It says here, you one year old!!!”

I looked down at the paperwork and to my horror, Simon had put my date of birth as my last grading date the previous November and in that box put my date of birth, it was an obvious mistake, but Sensei saw the funny side, normally he would probably have rejected the paperwork, but he laughed with me as he corrected the paperwork and with that same smile I saw from him earlier that morning he sent me back to my place in the line up.

But once again, Sensei’s smile had put me back on cloud nine, I went back to the line, gave everything I had and waiting with the rest for the result.  Back then you sat through everyone else’s gradings and waited to be called up again, if you were called up a second time for another kata, you had pretty much passed, unless you messed up that kata, I was called up a second time, flew through the kata and a little late my pass was confirmed.

Simon hadn’t passed, but you couldn’t tell, he was over the moon for me, it seemed it meant more that I passed than the result of his grading, he never showed any disappointment, I’m sure he had some, but he did a great job of hiding it.  We found a pay phone (no mobiles back in 1984) and I called my Dad and told him the news, I remember us both being in tears on the phone.

I don’t remember the ride home, it was long, but it passed so quickly, I got home and within minutes Alan turned up at the house, he was over the moon, I could see it in his face, he always took great pride in any of his students passing their black belt, but it seemed more so with me.

The next few days were interesting, there weren’t many ten year old black belts back then, especially not in Nottinghamshire, Alan contacted the papers and I had arrangements for interviews and photoshoots.  One of the papers came to my house and photographed me in my front room, another arranged to come to my school, it was a little embarrassing to have to perform barefooted in a wet school playgroup, in front of a handful of friends, whilst being photographed, although that paper did give me the nick name the mighty atom!

The previous day I had been mentioned in the local paper, not by name, but I was listed as being the only Bonfire night casualty in the Newark area, not my most shining moment, then just seven days later, I made the paper for all the right reasons.

They were six days that were a complete rollercoaster, from almost losing the sight in one eye to obtaining that black belt.  Then there were those moments during that grading which just changed things, to this day I still feel like I must have been Enoeda Sensei’s favourite student that day, he saw something in me and knew exactly how to respond to my shy and nervous persona, maybe I wasn’t his favourite student, but just for those few hours, it felt like it.

Life can change in the blink of an eye sometimes, had I not blinked that Monday evening, would I have done everything I have since then?  Would I have gone on to get that black belt, well maybe, probably not that day or in those circumstances, but I may have carried on, but everything that I have achieved in Karate since that day, has happened because of that one moment, that one blink.

Back then and through most of my life I haven’t been a Christian, I never believed, but now I firmly believe that at that moment, that blink of an eye was a moment when God’s touch was on my life.  Karate has been a major part of my life, a major part of the good that is in me, even in my lost years of drinking, it was only karate I stayed sober for, I’m sure it kept me alive in those years, it was the only thing that went right for me as the world around me crumbled, had it not been for that blink of an eye, well, I don’t even want to think about that.

BLINK by REVIVE
Teach me to number my days
And count every moment
Before it slips away
Take in all the colors
Before they fade to grey

I don’t want to miss
Even just a second
More of this

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink

When it’s all said and done
No one remembers
How far we have run
The only thing that matters
Is how we have loved

I don’t want to miss
Even just a second
More of this

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink

Slow down
Slow down
Before today becomes
Our yesterday

Slow down
Slow down
Before you turn around
And it’s too late

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink

Karate And Me – Part 3 – Journey To Black Belt

KARATE AND ME

PART 3 – JOURNEY TO BLACK BELT

1983 was a tough year, at the beginning of the year passed my 3rd Kyu, which is the first brown belt of three brown belts, now the real training began, most people recognise that brown belt is the belt before black, so once you make it to the first brown belt, the kata you learn is generally the one you then use for your black belt, the grading syllabus is generally the same, it the technical detail that must improve each time.  I passed all these gradings and by the end of the year had received my 1st Kyu, next step was black belt, a minimum of six months training and preparation.  Early that year Alan had started a club in Lincoln, it ran on Friday nights and then eventually Wednesday nights too, I began to travel with Alan on Friday nights to Lincoln, at first it was only me that wanted to go, eventually others higher grades came with us too.  By the time I passed my 1st Kyu I was training five times a week and it was hard training, Alan pushed us hard, he wanted us to succeed, he was hard but fair, always fair.

One thing he didn’t stand for was any kind of bullying, he wouldn’t have anyone taking liberties with other students, higher grades were to be fair and work with the lower grades and not be hard on them, push them, but not use them as canon fodder, he was keen on that.  One thing he wouldn’t stand for is anyone laughing at other students, he would get the different grades up to do their kata in groups, if one of them went wrong and any other student sat down laughed at them, he would get them up straight away, he would sit everyone down and make the student who laughed do their kata, whilst encouraging everyone else to laugh at them.  I was a victim of this once, I never did it again, I guess if I did that now, I would be pulled over the coals for it, but back in the early 1980’s it wasn’t so frowned upon, as I said once you had got caught, you never did it again and as higher grades, we sort of began to police and school the other students, make sure none of them fell foul of the rules and made the same mistakes as we had done.

In May 1983 I took part in my first National Championships, I was only just a brown belt and for the first time came up in a category with black belts, we didn’t have a junior black belt in the club at that point, that wouldn’t happen until later that year, I think the youngest black belt in the club at that point was about fifteen and he had quit training a year or so before.  I think Alan fudged the entry forms somewhat, to be fair it was common practice among all the Club Instructors to be liberal with ages on entry forms, the minimum age for fighting was 10 years, I was nine and not ten until seven months later, but I was entered in the fighting.  I wasn’t sure what to expect at this level and when I was called up for the first round against a black belt, I decided to just get stuck in.  I’m not sure either of us had much technique, more just youthful exuberance, somehow I won that fight, against a black belt, I was over the moon and my Dad who was watching was too.  I lost my second fight against another black belt, but that didn’t matter, I had beaten a black belt and that was my medal, together with the bruises and black eye I collected along the way.  I remember that competition well, the fighting especially, it was at Crystal Palace and we were on one of the mats on the balcony, which was a first because usually the kids were downstairs in one of the tiny gyms, there would be hundreds of kids squashed into these small rooms.  I think the kata was downstairs, I don’t remember anything about that really other than I lost in the first round, my one victory in the fighting was enough to make my day.

There was still a matter of two gradings to pass before attempting my black belt, thankfully I got through those okay, I don’t think I blitzed them, but I did enough to pass.  By this time I was training five times a week, every week, three times at my home club in Newark and twice at our sister club in Lincoln, it was hard training, but good, always good.

My first attempt at Black Belt came in April 1984, it was up in York and my first time training at one of these courses, never mind attempting to grade.  I remember training at Lincoln the night before and everything was a mess.  I couldn’t remember half the katas I needed, not that I didn’t know them, any other night I wouldn’t have had a problem, maybe it was nerves or apprehension for the next day, but I couldn’t get them right, half way through one of them I remember just having a complete memory blank, I just didn’t know what came next, to this day, I’ve never again had that problem, but that Friday night, I was lost.

The next day was the black belt grading in York, it wasn’t at some grand leisure centre, it was in the sports hall at Imphal Barracks, Fulford in York.  It was basic to say the least, just one large hall, small changing rooms and no refreshment facilities.  Hundreds of people came to train and over a hundred were there to take their grading, so it was a little cramped.

Five people from my club were grading that day, including me, I don’t remember much about the training and very little from my grading.  I do remember the free fighting, I really enjoyed that, the lad I fought went on to become National Champion a couple of years later, but that day I gave as good as I got.  Unfortunately though I failed everything but the fighting, the gradings are split into three parts, basics, kata and fighting, the basics pretty much count for most of the grading, if you fail that, you fail everything.  To pass you have to pass all three, if you fail kata or kumite, you still fail, but next time you only have to retake those elements, fail the basics you retake everything, fail two out of three, you retake everything also.

So I had failed and therefore had to redo the whole grading again.  In truth, I was just ten years old, still pretty young, but also it’s a requirement that there is a minimum of six months between passing the last brown belt and attempting black belt, I was a couple of weeks short of that, my instructor put me and another couple of students in regardless of this requirement, he later stated you would have to be exceptional to pass if you fell foul of this rule.

Three out of the five of us passed that day, Stuart an adult member of our Lincoln club, Darren who was a couple of years older than me and always been a couple of grades ahead, he had already failed once, but passed on this occasion, then there was Trudy, she had come through in the same group as me, but she was good, very good.

It was a bit of knock back to fail, it’s hard when good friends have passed, you want to be happy for them, but at the same time, your world has fell apart.  After that I stopped doing the extra training sessions at Lincoln for a while, I guess it knocked my enthusiasm somewhat, I trained hard when I trained, I just didn’t train as much.

In hindsight, that was wrong, looking back if I wasn’t good enough to pass when I was training five times a week, how was I going to be good enough to pass if I was only doing three.  Well the proof came just three months after that grading.

My second attempt came at Lincoln in July 1984, in truth the training didn’t go that well, the instructor picked me up on a number of things and it seemed to blow my confidence.  The outcome was the same as before, I failed the kata and basics, but passed the fighting.  I think I actually did better the first time around, I can’t put my finger on what went wrong, I simply was nowhere near good enough, now I had to wait another three months before I could try again, one thing was for sure, it was back to training five times a week.

BEST OF YOU by FOO FIGHTERS
I’ve got another confession to make
I’m your fool
Everyone’s got their chains to break
Holdin’ you

Were you born to resist or be abused?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

Are you gone and onto someone new?
I needed somewhere to hang my head
Without your noose
You gave me something that I didn’t have
But had no use
I was too weak to give in
Too strong to lose
My heart is under arrest again
But I break loose
My head is giving me life or death
But I can’t choose
I swear I’ll never give in
I refuse

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Has someone taken your faith?
Its real, the pain you feel
You trust, you must
Confess
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Oh…

Oh…Oh…Oh…Oh…

Has someone taken your faith?
Its real, the pain you feel
The life, the love you’d die to heal
The hope that starts the broken hearts
You trust, you must
Confess

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

I’ve got another confession my friend
I’m no fool
I’m getting tired of starting again
Somewhere new

Were you born to resist or be abused?
I swear I’ll never give in
I refuse

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Has someone taken your faith?
Its real, the pain you feel
You trust, you must
Confess
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Oh…

Karate And Me – Part 1 – The Beginnings

KARATE AND ME

PART 1 – THE BEGINNINGS

It can safely be said I was quite a sickly child, whatever went around I caught, my sister on the other hand was never ill, it was always me.  It was tonsillitis that was the bane of my life as a young child, it seemed to come around every couple of months and instead of school, I would be sent to my Nan’s whilst my parents worked.

Eventually it was decided that I would have my tonsils removed.  In the late seventies and early eighties it was, I guess, common practice to just send every chronic suffer to have them removed, nowadays they aren’t so keen.

So on Sunday 21st September 1980, I went in to Newark General Hospital, the day before my operation was scheduled.  There were three other boys having their tonsils out and also a young girl who was having her adenoids removed.  We were all of a similar age and seemed to get on, except the young girl who was rather loud and annoying!

On Monday afternoon we were taken upstairs to theatre and one by one we were all operated on.  I remember waking up and just coughing up blood, all we were allowed to eat for the first few days was ice cream!  On the following Thursday we were discharged and my parents were told I was not allowed out of the house for two weeks, for risk of infection.

Whilst I was house bound, my cousin, who was four years older than me had started karate at the local sports centre.  On the first Sunday that I was able to leave the house, I went to watch him.

At that time in 1980, karate was only just becoming the family activity it is now, beforehand it was just a battleground for grown men, but now more and more clubs were inviting kids to join.  The club in Newark at the time had an age limit of seven years old, at that time I was still only six, just two months before my seventh birthday.

So on Sunday 12th October 1980, I went along to watch my first class.  I remember sitting on the bench at the side, just watching and then standing up and trying to replicate what the kids and their parents were doing.  Then about half way through the class the instructor came over to my Dad and me, he had obviously seen that I was trying to do karate too, he asked my Dad how old I was and when he told him that I was still just six, but only a couple of months from being seven, the instructor paused for a moment, then decided I could join in, he invited me to join the rest of the class and off I went, shoes and socks off and I joined in.

As a child, or being honest here as an adult too, I was very shy.  I didn’t make friends easily and didn’t speak with people I didn’t know.  If I was with my parents and they stopped to speak with someone they knew, I would hide behind them, unless I knew them, but generally I was very shy and quiet.  I was more than happy with my own company.

So karate was a big step out of that bubble for me.  The instructor, Alan, was a hard but fair man, he pushed us, sometimes maybe too hard, but that was because he wanted to get the best out of us and generally only the ones that really tried and he thought had potential.

In those early months, I’m not sure what he saw in me, I tried, I really did, I was a trier, if I was doing it, I was all in, doing the best I can, but the honest truth was that despite all my efforts, I was rubbish, my natural shyness didn’t help either, I guess it stopped me performing at times and also if the instructor raised his voice, I would probably break out into tears, I did many times and generally it wasn’t because he was shouting at me either, I was just that sort of kid that would cry at the drop of a hat, I was shy and I was emotional, I guess I still am, just ask my Connect Group!

After five months for training, it was time to take my first grading, I had never met a Japanese person before, Kawasoe Sensei was quietly spoken, but a very good technician.  I don’t really remember that first class with him, I remember it being a Saturday evening, as was the normal for grading back then, eventually they would move to Sundays, but that would be a year or so later. I think that Sensei would come up from London, take a session and grading in Newark on the Saturday and then travel on Worksop to do the same on Sundays, although I may be mistaken.

I have a vague recollection of taking that grading, but what I do remember is the result and what my instructor told my Dad afterwards.  It was very rare a student ever completely failed a grading, they would have to be clueless to do that and lets be honest, if they were clueless, they shouldn’t be taking the grading in the first place.

I don’t think I was clueless, I just wasn’t very good, my instructor told my Dad that I got the turns wrong in my kata, essentially the first kata is a twenty simple moves and a handful of turns, the turns are the only thing you really have to get right!  In addition to that I didn’t kiai during my grading either.  The kiai is a shout of spirit, it should be done at the end of every set of basics and twice during the kata.  I think I may have kiai’d during the grading, but knowing me and how shy I was, it was more likely that I just mumbled something under my breath, rather than let out the shout of spirit that was required.

As I say, it was pretty rare to see anybody fail at the first grading, it still is, but there is what is called a temporary grade, the student still gets to wear the belt they were grading for, but as they are not quite up to standard, they could just be made up to a full grade the next time, unless they significantly improve.

I got a temporary grade that day, 9th kyu as it was called.  These days we give out a bright orange belt to new 9th Kyus, back then though, there was no such thing, we kept the same shabby, fraying canvas white belt and my Dad wrapped a piece of black electrical tape around each end, that signified 9th Kyu, the next belt should be what is now red, but back then a second tab was added, it was all a bit basic.

I laugh now when I think back to that first grading and my early days of karate, the thing I couldn’t do back then, is what I now have a reputation for, I couldn’t do my kata, as time went on I would become Regional kata champion, eventually National kata champion and represent England in kata on five occasions, but back then I couldn’t do it for toffee.

It does however make a good story for my students these days.  When I can see they are struggling with their kata, learning new ones and not getting the right, I tell this story, of the little shy boy, that couldn’t do his kata, that got that temporary grade like some of them, I wasn’t very good, I wasn’t natural at any of it, I worked hard though and in time it came to me.  The young kids look at me in disbelief, they can’t imagine that I would have been that bad, I tell them I was a lot worse than they are, then watch as they relax and things begin to fall into place.

That early disappointment wasn’t a setback, it was just a start, I was too young and didn’t really understand what it meant for it to be a setback, I got the belt, so everything was fine, it was now on to the next grading.

But there was a setback to come.  Back then I idolised my cousin, we weren’t a very well off family, most of my clothes and all of my bikes at that point had been hand me downs from my cousin, needless to say, he was four years older and generally bigger than I was, I was very small for my age, well below the average height, indeed at 5ft 4½ inches, I am still very short (needless to say the ½ inch is very important), so the clothes I got from him were too big and by the time I grew into them, they were well out of date!

Some weeks after that grading, my cousin decided one Sunday that he wasn’t going, we only trained once a week at that point, but the classes were growing by the week and soon a Tuesday evening would be added, but my cousin said he wasn’t going, so I wasn’t going either.  The same thing happened the next week and then the week after that, it happened for about six weeks, then my cousin said he didn’t want to go anymore, so naturally, as I wanted to do everything he did, I told my Dad I didn’t want to go anymore either, my Dad wasn’t very happy and I didn’t understand why.  I had no idea how much it cost each week, how much the karate suit cost, the license and the grading, I didn’t understand any of that, I had no concept of money, I didn’t get pocket money, I did karate and that was it, so I didn’t understand until years later why he was unhappy that I didn’t keep going.

He hardly spoke to me for the following week, until on the following Saturday, I asked my Dad if he would take me to karate the next day, I remember the light in his face when I asked him.  My Dad worked three jobs most of the time when I was younger, he worked at the local factory during the week, two weeks on days and then two weeks on nights, then the weekends he would work with a friend of his at a Garden Centre in Southwell, the friend he worked with also did karate and around this time had just received his black belt, apart from Alan, the main instructor he was one of two that past that day to become the second black belts from the club.  In addition to those jobs, my Dad would finish work early and then go and work for an hour or so at the D.I.Y. store my Mum worked at in town, he would just help in the mill cutting wood and then would come home with my Mum, so unless I went to the Garden Centre with him on a Saturday, which I did from time to time, I didn’t get to spend that much time with him, he worked so we could have a nice home and nice things.  I had been born into a family that was living in a Council Flat on Grange Road and by now my parents were working hard to buy their first house, it was a council house that we had moved into, but my parents had purchased it and were working to do it up and pay the mortgage, as well as give my sister and myself everything they could afford, so when I said I wanted to go, I realised this was something that he wanted to do for me, to support me in, he knew I liked it, I knew I was a trier and the instructors there had taken to me, whether I was pretty bad at it or not, he wanted me to succeed.

So I went back and started training once again, preparing for that next belt.  By the time I took that next grading, the belt system had changed and the 8th Kyu belt had now changed from the old white belt with two tags to the red belt, although the 9th Kyu belt would remain white with a tag for a while to come.

Back in those days it was popular to just dye belts, I guess it was expensive then to buy belts, karate wasn’t as popular a pass time as it is now, so belts weren’t available everywhere like nowadays, so my Mum decided to dye one of the white belts I had, I had two now, because I had inherited my cousin’s after he quit, she purchased the red dye, followed the instructions the evening after my grading.  I still had only a temporary 8th Kyu, I was good enough to complete my 9th Kyu belt that was a temporary grade from before, but still wasn’t quite good enough to get a full red belt, so it was temporary again.  The only problem was that she dyed it that Saturday evening after the grading, but it came out pink and she had used all the dye, the Sunday was normal training at the club and well, I went with my pink belt.  There wasn’t many people at the class and with it being July, the class was held on the playing fields behind the sports centre.  My Dad took his camera that day and somewhere there are pictures of me in pink belt, beating up Fraser, one of the adult brown belts who would help out at the kids classes on a Sunday afternoon.  Needless to say the next day my Mum purchased some more dye and re-dyed it, it came out a dark crimson red, that was fine for me.  After that grading I never wore a dyed belt anymore, it was a purchased belt all the way.

THE FIGHT by THE ROCKET SUMMER
It’s silent tonight
I’m trying to wrap my head around
If everything will be alright
And how you didn’t have to do it now

And I don’t
know how
you managed to sleep with
knowing that you abandoned me at the worst time
but I will

Fight the fight and
keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight,
it’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
and keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

Faith, welcome back
it’s been awhile since we hung out
have you come to get me back on track?
you know they didn’t have to do this now

But I don’t have no
Time to waste for me now
About how they abandoned me at the worst time

So I will
Fight the fight and
Keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight,
It’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

What would I do now
if you weren’t here to pull me out?
What would I do now
If I didn’t have my friends?
What would I do now
If you weren’t here

And as the trouble chases me
Bring me guidance
Be with me to

Fight the fight and
Keep defying
I’d give up,
but I keep trying
To fight the fight
It’s in my wiring
This is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

I’d give up, but I’d be lying
So fight the fight and keep defying
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me