The moment the black belt touches the gi for the first time represents only the beginning of your adventure in the martial art of Aikido Yoshinkan. I was never in a rush to complete my gradings and gain my brown or black belt. I felt that I wanted to take my time and make sure I only graded when I was fully confident that I could accomplish it well with a controlled complexity. To me it isn’t a race about trying to exceed to the highest step as quick as possible nor trying to always stay ahead of the other students who joined aikido after me. To me I believe achieving a grading shows that I am prepared to demonstrate that I am physically and mentally ready for a step up and will do my hardest to show I deserve these gradings. When I was training for my Shodan grading like most people are, I was very nervous, dreading to do it and imagining how I wouldn’t be skilled enough to be able to take on all the difficult circumstances that this step needs students to do. However, Sensei Ryan told me I had been training for this for quite a while and I showed I am ready for this step up so I must grade. Sensei knew I was more then prepared to grade physically however I was hiding my thoughts to grade mentally as I had no confidence in myself. After the grading I then understood I was ready, but I wasn’t thinking positively enough because I was just nervous and nervous for the step up that I’d need to do once a black belt. As a student in Aikido Yoshinkan I can say from the day you first step onto the dojo mats to the time that you will put that black belt on, you will have started a new adventure. A time to train well, show much spirit and honour the hard work you’ve done throughout the years which has all gone into that black belt. From this I give every single person the thought of, be confident in yourself as you are much more skilled than you will ever think, take a chance and go for that grading because if you happen to not succeed from it you will have another chance to take it again, and again and again… We only get stronger from defeat so how will we ever learn and become greater if we don’t get knocked down once in a while. Most importantly wear your belt no matter what colour with honour and pride as each individual worked and trained very hard to accomplish this unknown.