My stories as I remember them during my journey in the Martial Arts

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What Does it Mean to Achieve a Black Belt

What does it mean to achieve a Black Belt? Why pursue this goal? We pursue many things in our lives and set many goals. Achieving a Black Belt is usually a special goal. It takes years of practice and dedication. Along the way we will learn much about ourselves. We will push our minds and bodies to the limit. I think the pursuit of reaching Black Belt mirrors our human experience. Life is a struggle, we work against challenges and strive to succeed in many things, family, work, spiritual, and personal goals like that of a Black Belt. On the road to Black Belt we learn how to dedicate ourselves to a goal; we can transfer this learning experience to our everyday lives, in work, family, and spiritual endeavors. The struggle of life is what makes it interesting. Sometimes the struggle is self imposed other times we struggle against odds and circumstances we wish didn’t exist. Challenge and strife often times create who we are for better or worse, and everyone will experience it. A life without significant challenge would be boring and without meaning. We all need challenge, we all need to move forward in our lives, when we stand still we become “stale”. Like standing water, we will eventually begin to stagnant, and move backwards.

Working towards a Black Belt can precipitate the evaluation of life goals. Many people set no life goals. Martial arts students will begin to set goals while on the road to Black Belt. Like life our success on the road to Black Belt will be determined by other people. Success in life is often judged by others. If we run a business the success of the business is determined by our customers. If we work for someone else our success is judged by the individuals running the business and individuals we report to.

The requirements for achieving a Black Belt will vary from one organization to another. All reputable organizations will have a very specific set of requirements that must be met before the student is considered eligible for Black Belt. Testing and/or judgment of how a Black Belt is awarded will vary from school to school but in the end, achieving this goal in a good institution will be challenging, difficult, and fair.

There are many advantages to working towards a goal of achieving Black Belt. What it means to reach that goal go hand in hand with the advantages. Black Belt it is a goal reached that was most likely only a far off dream when you first stepped through the door of the dojo. The old saying is: “goals are dreams that have a deadline”. The dream of achieving a Black Belt is no different. At first it is just a dream and then training begins and it becomes a long range goal with the focus on each step along the way. After many short range goals and small steps you reach the point where Black Belt is the next step. All your training becomes fine tuned and you condition your body. It is the peak for that final sprint. The sweat, pain, and obstacles have been over come. You are now a Black Belt. It means you have achieved a goal. You have overcome obstacles, personal, physical, mental and spiritual, everything has played a role.

Achieving a Black Belt means you had the discipline few individuals possess and you were willing to put in the work to conquer something that wasn’t easy. You put yourself to the test and with perseverance, indomitable spirit, honesty and integrity a passing grade was awarded. Some people go in front of judges for gold, silver and bronze metals, some people run races and some people test for a Black Belt. It is a test for yourself, to achieve something special, achieving it means that your struggle has paid off. Pass on what you learned along the way and the meaning of achieving this goal grows beyond just the personal reward. Everyone you contact can benefit and in a small way each Black Belt can enhance the experience of all their friends, family, co-workers and community. Worthwhile endeavors create strong character. True Black Belts have strong character that is one reason they were able to do what it takes to get there.

Achieving a Black Belt is also the beginning of journey. It is not only a journey in the martial arts, but it can also be a journey in life. No one is perfect, Black Belts are not perfect. People with character know this very well. Well rounded people also know that striving for perfection should still be the goal. That is the journey. Take the tools needed to achieve Black Belt and apply them to life. Conquer challenges in everyday life the same way they are conquered on the road to Black Belt. Grow with your experience in the martial arts and life.

Achieving a Black Belt is this: a journey to get there, a journey to stay there and a journey to move forward from there. It also a goal and goals are never ending. The goal and the journey are the challenge. Black Belts in life and the marital arts conquer the challenge and meet the goal. Black Belts give back to the arts and give back the people around them. Achieving a Black Belt means you have and created the strong character needed to excel beyond the ordinary.