First, I assumed when I started Wing Chun that I would have easily been a Black Sash before I was 50. In fact, I would have predicted I would be a Grandmaster by the time I was 50. Turns out that neither has happened yet. I want to reflect on why.
Although I am not a Grandmaster, I achieved mastery some time ago. It was my well trained eye that caught Chu Shong Tin's errors on DVD. It was my quick reactions that thwarted meter maids throughout Chattanooga. It was my cross application of Wing Chun that economized my lawn care methods. Mastery has never been hard for me -- it is Grandmastery that seems a bit allusive.
Now the Black Sash thing I am not worried about. John Powell is obviously not going to beat me to it; Charlie Newton was a charity case; and Chuck and Nelson both have some skills but are one sash behind me and never get Sifu as good of Christmas presents as I do. So the way I figure it, I am next in line and it will happen when Sifu's self-confidence rises to the level that awarding it to me will not make him insecure. I am fine with that and each lesson I work with Sifu I feel his skill increasing bit by bit so eventually he will feel ready to make that step.
So on my birthday when I make my wishes, blowing out my candles, I think only of my kung fu brothers and sisters: "May you some day be as good as me." I was going to wish to end hunger in Africa, but I decided to stretch my wish to something harder to achieve.