FS - Mike Mercer - Black on Top

On Thursday night, KJN Jeremy made me turn by belt over - black on top. I'm in the test! I hadn't assumed but he asked before class why I was still wearing my belt red side up. I said that I had yet to be promoted and If I were to be recycled to next year, I would understand. Apparently, I've been in the test for awhile.

I'm the one that doesn't look like the others in the 2nd and 3rd degree tester's class. I'm not a ninja like Jae Jae, I can't hold my leg up, like T-Berg does while sparring, for what seems to be minutes in the manner that a cat holds out its front paw ready to strike. Master Gary is a Kajukembo genius - my personal favorite of the martial arts. I pretty much whither when he comes in with some new six count combo. The list goes on but, mostly, I'm not a black belt...yet. 

The 2nd and 3rd degree testers have welcomed me into their class and I'm grateful. In return, I've made a sincere commitment to them to not only cover and accomplish the 1st degree curriculum but to also do my best to master the additional curriculum for the 2nd and 3rd degree testers. At this point, I'm half-way through the additional forms. Being in class has allowed me to absorb the additional weapon disarms, some of the short stick skills, knife and stick flow drills.

There are some things that I am well behind on but I've had a chance to back-fill with some additional experiences and skills. The FAST Defense trainer certification and subsequent classes at Aim High were truly a rewarding part of the journey. Last weeks four day Instructor Tune-up and 48 Hours of Adrenaline at the FAST headquarters in Longmont, Colorado was amazing and has infused me with confidence that has me eager for what is next.

I have a ways to go, there's no question, but I'm gaining a great sense of momentum about making it.

On a side note, I wanted to add the following: I've watched our leaders work as a team this week toward some incredibly difficult decisions. We are privileged to have what we have at Aim High, in leadership, in program, in facility, and in genuine care for others. We have lived and experienced an uncommon combination where martial arts standards and requirements are kept high while institutional growth has taken place; this while and equally weighted set of outside requirements must be completed to earn a black belt. On paper, this model doesn't work. That is, unless you have the right leadership, the right people in support, and the right students come along and self-identify as the next generation of leaders.

It's going to be a great week. I'm hoping to do the Sun Run with you all next week. I thought about biting off the big chunk and doing the 10k. I'm thinking more modestly right at this moment.

Much love,


Posted on July 19, 2014 .