Yamato Dojo congratulates Susie Kahlich, who was awarded the Shodan Level Black Belt in July 2006.
Susie Kahlich is a screenwriter from Chicago by way of Brooklyn. She has lived in LA for 9 years. Susie joined Studio City Martial Arts in September of 2000 and has been a student of Sensei Minge for 6 ½ years. In July of 2006, she was tested for both her black/white and black belts in a combined test that also included a review of 27 Shodan techniques. After the hour and a half test, Sensei Minge, Sensei Friedman and Sempai Cody decided to award her Shodan. Susie joined Yamato Dojo with no previous martial arts training.
In Susie’s own words....
- “When I look at the photos from the test, I can trace my thought processes across my face. Initially I was a nervous wreck, worried that I would disappoint Sensei and convinced I hadn’t studied and trained long enough. But shortly before the test began, I realized that I not only had to trust in my 6 years of training but also in my teachers –specifically Sensei Minge, but which also includes all the students of the dojo. I just thought “I’m on a train that’s already left the station and I’m not the conductor, so I might as well enjoy the ride.”
- Of all the things I’ve learned from Ninjutsu, they culminated in this moment. Learning physical techniques, how to move my body in a natural, flowing way, working with an adversary’s energy, all have a much deeper meaning when you first learn to relax and not force control. It’s one of the most valuable lessons I’ve taken from my training, and one I apply to every aspect of my life.
- I came to Ninjutsu shortly after I became a statistic of violent crime. My initial intention to was stick around for maybe two years, learn a few good, powerful self defense techniques and move on. But after meeting Sensei Minge and training for a few short months in the dojo, it became clear to me how the simplest lessons I learned on the floor apply to life outside the dojo as well – and how much they’ve improved my life overall. It is from Ninpo that I’ve learned what commitment, humility and effort truly mean.
- I was not expecting to be so honored as to earn my Shodan level during my test. In fact, it was just easier to forget I was even taking a test and to simply move as I trust my body to move, to move in a way according to my understanding and natural movement; to not pursue perfection, but to enjoy the journey. And look what happened! To be so honored by Sensei Minge, Sensei Friedman and Sempai Cody still leaves me awestruck – here is one of the very few moments in your adult life when you are awarded just for being yourself – for being natural.
- It’s wonderful to know that I can throw a guy twice as big as me if I need to, but it’s even better knowing that once you incorporate honesty, effort, interest in everything into your way of living, your desire to do damage is surpassed by a desire to see how far you can grow.
- (It’s still a lot of fun to throw a guy around, though.)”