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Missing Class

If you are going to miss class, it is a good idea to let your sensei know in advance, particularly if your absence will be extended. Today, it is very easy to communicate by email. However, you should follow the procedures expected in your dojo. Assistants should be especially responsible in this regard because the sensei is relying on them.

If a yudansha (black belt holder) has missed class for several months or years, he might return to class and wear a white belt until he gets back into shape. This may seem like a very conservative thing to do, but I have seen it done often here in Hawaii.

The sensei might instruct the yudansha to wear his black belt right away or might give him some time to recover before resuming assisting or teaching responsibilities.

Once when I joined a dojo (I was already a shodan), a new student (so I thought) came to class. He was standing in the back of the dojo wearing a white belt. I was assisting and at one point slightly repositioned one of his punches. He responded by executing a great punch (one that scares you if you are anywhere near it). It turns out that the student as a returning godan (5th degree balck belt) and the sensei's senior student.

If such a senior could wear a white belt upon his return to class, we all can.


Charles C. Goodin