Sunday, 5 February 2012

Stage one

For the sake of today, I'll skip almost a week of blog posts (I have the notes ready and some days already partially written), and tell you about the happening dad has been holding onto, looking forward to and preparing and waiting for for the passed few weeks: dad's grand student Louison's shodan grading.

After a week of contemplating and preparing and eventually deciding, dad stayed at home in stead of going to the dojo, while class was taken by Erik. Lots of people showed up, and from 12:15 till 13:00 Louison was made to work extremely hard. It had been a very difficult exam, but he'd made Erik proud.

Martijn (Louison's father) phoned after the grading to see if it was an appropriate time for Erik, Louison and himself to come round to see dad. Because dad was the one who had to grade Louison. Martijn had told mum over the phone that he'd never seen such a long, tough exam, but that he'd seen lots of nice things. Erik had said that dad would be even prouder than Erik himself, and Erik hadn't been this proud in a long, long time. After the grading Erik had called Martijn to the front of the class and announced, in dad's name, that the dojo will be passed on to Martijn. After that, Martijn sat next to Erik facing the class for the bow that ended practice.

Louison, Martijn and Erik arrived a few minutes after the phone call. They were ushered into the living room while mum went up to see if dad was awake. I offered them a drink while they waited—but before they'd received their coffee they could go upstairs, before dad had to sit up waiting too long.

We all waited in the hall outside dad's bedroom while mum and Maya sorted chairs and prepared dad. Helloes were said and we all sat down around dad. Dad was more alert than he'd been in weeks. He'd made a special effort to take as little pain killers as possible to be able to be as clear headed as he could for when Louison would come. We were amazed.

Martijn got out the iPad that was used to film Louison's grading, and Louison showed dad. Dad watched carefully, evaluating whether Louison did well enough to earn his shodan:


"Well done," dad had said after watching bits of the 45 minutes of film. Yep, Louison had done it. Time to put a stamp in his aikido passport:



And to sign where the signature goes:



Martijn was asked to fill in the date:


And then it was official:


Here's yer black belt, Louison:







Galen, Sjoerd, Maya, mum, Martijn, Erik

"Nah, I want the black one!"

The black one.

I congratulated Louison, and gave him a present:



We had some fun after that. Dad showed Erik the lovely black-black-green hakama that Arjan had had made for dad. He explained that Arjan had found someone to make it for him, "He got a Turkish man, and trained him with a whip!" laughs all round... and then dad added with sudden, immense energy, "'Get it RIGHT!'"

After about three quarters of an hour it was time to go. Galen, Sjoerd, Maya, mum and I left the room to let Louison, Martijn and Erik say their good byes. After they left, dad kept his clarity and some of the energy he'd gathered from somewhere for a while. I brought some tea up to mum and dad, and Maya joined us as well. After dad's tea was finished, he talked a little with us. After a while dad realised he was actually rather tired. So we let him rest.

This was it then. The huge thing we've all been living towards with dad is finished... Now what?


  1. Thanx for the post Tasmin. Really appreciate being able to see that! Love to Simon! Adrian x

  2. I'm very glad that this was able to happen - and that it did in such a remarkable way. There's a lot more happening there than the passing-over of a shodan certificate. Very moving and thank you for writing it so well Tasmin. Please, if you can, give him my love.