Testing day

Drops a stone in the sand garden.

Alright, Bub. Recite the dojo kun.

“Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form itself.”

Very good. You may now attempt
to break the board. But first-
recite the dojo kun.

“Be inwardly humble.” And-
“And be one with your karateka.”
Mhm. That’s right.

Bub throws a ninja star.
It sticks inside a beam of bamboo.
Perfect velocity on that throw.
Sensai Ardi nods graciously.

To attain the yellow belt, Bub.
First you must demonstrate the required kata.
Can you speak for me, Bub?

Bub chops a board in half.

Very impressive. Very, very impressive.
But, as your karateka, will you speak for me?

“You are Lukesier Payne. You are a
blue belt under sensei Ardi my sensei.”

Yes. Yes. Indeed. Tell me more, bub.
Drops a stone in the sand garden.

“You bring great honor to the dojo kun.
Your internal world is not-”
He interrupts. External he says.
She continues: “Your external world
does not get away from your interior.”

Mixed those up but I see that you have it.
He mutters this and glances at Ardi.
Ardi brushes it off. Waves it with his hand,
as if to say the flipflop is ‘OK’.

Bub tries to flatten a stubborn crease
formed inside the back of her gui.
“What is this? why is it like that?”
It’s starch, Bub. Now back to the task.
Speak for me.

“You are at one with seasons,
Karateka Lukesier Payne.
You are at one with the world.”

Lukesier winks affirming.

Bub, overcome with glee,
turns in a roundhouse kick toward
the direction of Sensei Ardi,
and awaits judgment.

Sensei Ardi prolongs the heat of the moment.
Hinting as if he is about to nod, but doesn’t quite;
teetering Bub to the verge of hyperventilation,
finally he gives her his answer.

He gives her a thumbs up.
Very impressive, he says.
And throws her a
yellow belt. Bub is elated.

Lukesier stands up from the sand garden.
Now that’s some-
yeah-
that’s some-
some that we can all get down to.

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