Congratulations to Lindsey Johnson. Gracie Barra Seattle's newest black belt.
It's really a special moment when you see someone who essentially began training when you did earn his or her black belt.
As great as it was to see training partners like Casey and Lance get their black belts, for example, guys like these were brown belts or very sophisticated purple belts when I first began training. Already at a semi-mystical level to someone who was just starting out, seeing guys whose jiu-jitsu already seemed awesome become awarded for that awesomeness with black belts was impressive. But I arrived impressed, so to speak. From a certain perspective, seeing guys like Casey and Lance earn their black belts was like turning the amp up to 11.
But the feeling when you see someone who you know was first learning armbars when you were learning armbars, who was competing as a blue belt when you were competing as a blue belt, make that move to the next level is hard to describe. You almost feel as if a part of you is earning that black belt as well, that this vindication of his time and sweat on the mat is, in a strange way, also a vindication of your time and sweat on the mat, as well.
It's difficult to describe. But the feeling is unmistakable. The great caravan of initiates that started on its journey six-odd years ago has begun to arrive at the first of many wonderful destinations.