A nice surprise today as there is a new student in my hapkido class. I've been studying alone with two instructors for around eight months now but before that I trained with a Canadian co-worker. Training alone is OK (basically a private lesson with 2 teachers, very unique here) but working with someone else in the class helps gauge where I am going right and where I am going wrong. The new student had on his white belt (the belt issued to new students) so I assumed he was a beginner. Much to my dismay, fleeting though it was, it turned out he is a 2nd Dan already at hapkido from another dojang and also a 2nd Dan at Taekwando. He just has to start at white belt level because he is a new student at this dojang.
Actually this is probably the best thing that could have happened to me there. He can do some of the moves I can't yet do especially manoeuvres that demand aerobic ability but there are other areas like kicking where I have more power and am slightly better. So for the first time in months I can actually compare myself to someone on a similar level and have something tangible to aspire to. I seemed to train a little harder even after practice was over and it's given me new motivation to improve whatever skills I have right now. The new student is 24 (23 really) but alas speaks almost no English. He will be my new partner for self defence techniques which is a massive improvement on working with teenagers that I only see on test day! It should be more interesting now as I get back on the road to aiming for my 2nd Dan black belt.