Today I will take my 3 hour Black Belt Pre-Test at Action Karate Newtown, one of the final steps and a culmination of 4 years of study and effort towards the goal of achieving a Black Belt Rank in American Kenpo Karate.

Achieving a Black Belt in a Martial Arts discipline, though I have never spoken about it,  is something that I had hoped to achieve since I first studied Aikido at the age of 11. Unfortunately, at that time, after about a month of study, my brother came up behind me one day and startled me and I wound up using some of my technique on him (hadn’t grasped the “self control” aspect yet) and Mom decreed that was to be the end of my practicing karate.

I have never seemed to find the time until my son Nicholas, who will also pre-test today started taking karate 5 years ago. 1 year after he began I was awaiting the start of classes for the Department of the Navy Security School. At that time I was 53 years old, 250 pounds. I had JUST barely passed the physical screening requirements for the school (getting over the 6 foot chain link fence was a BITCH and lets not even talk about the diving(?) through the window part) and was badly out of shape. In June of 2009 the karate studio was offering a free month for dads’ so in order to inspire my son and to get in better shape I enrolled.

I get my White Belt June 2009

Receiving my white belt at the beginning of my training, June 1979

Today I will test at 218 pounds and am in better shape than I was at 45.

Trophys won at last tournament before Black Belt pre test

T8rophys won at last tournament before Black Belt pre test

I do not have many achievements in my life that I personally believe are notable. I left high school after 11th grade and did not graduate. (I obtained my GED 4 years later.) I did not go to college. My achievements that I do consider notable are my completion of Rescue Swimmer School at Coronado Naval Amphibious Base in April of 1975, my qualification in submarines aboard the USS Memphis (SSN 691) in September or 1979 and my successive service aboard 7 other submarines afterward

688 at Periscope Depth

and my retirement after 20 years of naval service 31 July 1994. If I obtain the Black Belt rank this achievement will rank with those others as one of the proudest personal moments of my life.

As a testament to Miss Anne, Mr. Ogborne, the Head Instructor Mr. “C” and all the staff who helped me at Action Karate Newtown I truly hope that I am worthy enough to earn this.