Susie Kahlich
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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 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.)”

Click Here for a Link to Susie’s Test Photo Gallery