First of all, a big congratulations to Stephan and Young Steve for passing their tests this week. It was an interesting week for sure. We were reminded of how martial arts can teach us valuable life lessons. The tests we conducted were for 9th Kyu, and in many ways this is one of the most important landmarks on the modern martial path. It sets the foundation for the rest of your development - if you don't take the time to slow down and build good habits/structure at this stage, then your martial arts could easily crumble in the future. It is the same with everything in life, be it relationships, careers, or school. Great things take time to build, so have patience and be diligent.
Building something great will also come with a lot of failures. One of the students who earned his promotion this week was actually taking the test for a second time. Yes, he failed the first time. He came to the first test brimming with confidence. Don't get me wrong, confidence can take you very far in life and will help you overcome many obstacles, but it must be tempered with humility.
This particular student was certainly humbled after his failure, but instead of giving up, he came back with a lit fire. He persevered through his embarrassment, emptied his cup, asked a lot of questions, and studied and practiced hard. This was a great display of mental and spiritual development, and a representation of true Ninpo (忍法) or NinPo (忍宝). His failure also pushed other students to heighten their own training. The rest of the class was able to learn from someone else's mistakes and grow from this experience.
Sadly, this student is moving away and will no longer be able to attend our classes. His time with us was short but he will be missed. We should use this as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of relationships and life, so that we can appreciate the time we have and the moments we share inside and outside of the dojo. Hopefully he has learned just as much from us as we have learned from him. We wish him the best as he starts a new chapter in his life! Ganbatte (頑張って)!