It was unlike any other Sunday for the students of WKO Shinkyokushinkai Philippines. Usually, the students end their Sundays with the weekly training at Stamina Dojo, but this time, they started it with a promotion. This promotion also serves as the last activity of WKO Shinkoykushinkai Philippines for the year of 2017.
A lot of students came in early. Everyone was busy practicing. The senior students helped their kouhais in practing and memorizing their katas. Before the grading, Sensei Richard Picar let the students do their own warm-ups. Some focused on their stretching, some focused on their core, everyone had their own style of warming up—but one thing’s for sure, everyone was serious and focused on what they’re doing since it’s their promotion.
After warming up, Senpai Albert, Senpai Paul, and Senpai Yong all lead the training, which also served as a review for the students. The grading started with the white belters. Senpai Yong Languisan lead their promotion. They did their kihon, ido geiko, and katas. While the white belters were doing their physical exam as part of their grading, the orange belters started. This time, it was Senpai Paul Magahis who lead them. The same process was done— kihon, ido geiko, and then katas.
As the orange belters do their physical exam, the blue belts started their grading. Senpai Alberto Baquiran lead them. They also did their kihon, ido geiko, katas, and physical exam. While they were doing their grading, other students who haven’t started their grading yet were practicing their katas.
After the blue belters came the higher belters’ (yellow, green, and brown belters) turn. Now it was Sensei Richard who lead their grading. They also did their kihon, ido geiko, and katas—but it came with a twist since they are now considered as higher belters. They did their ido geiko with ura and with their eyes closed. They also did their physical exam.
While some students were busy finishing their physical exam, the other students got ready for the kumite or sparring. Because Senpai Mike Picar and Senpai Tristan Ilay were both running for their 1st kyu belts (brown stripe), it was necessary for the black belters to spar with them, especially Sensei Richard.
After the sparring, the students were told to line up for their final test: belt jumping. Here’s the thing: the students have to jump in and out of their belts to be able to wear their new belts.
There were students whom Sensei Richard surprised with their promotion such as Senpai Mike Picar, Senpai Aila Padilla, and Senpai Mark Palacio. And there were students who were double promoted like Senpai Francis Fulgosino and Senpai Kenji Leyva, the champion and runner-up in the Men’s Advance Division of 3rd Open Full Contact Karate Tournament, respectively.
The WKO Shinkyokushinkai Karate Philippines ended the day with a gathering/salu-salo. It has been a yearly tradition where after the promotion, students from different dojos would gather and bring food. This way, the students from different dojos get the chance to bond and get to know each other more.
It is great to see all the students improve and push themselves to their limits. Truly, it is not easy to take a grading, especially when it comes to Shinkyokushin. Each belt really has its own challenges and difficulties, but the Shinkyokushin students showed bushido and really tried to defy each of their own gravities!
Fellow Karatekas, being promoted doesn’t mean you have reached your limit. It means that you have more responsibilities to carry, and more areas to improve on. Keep on training because Karate never stops! Osu!
Aila Denise Padilla
Quezon City Dojo