Saturday, December 26, 2009

What does Black Belt mean to me? Revisited

On October 5th, 2005 I wrote down a post of what Black Belt meant to me, I wrote:

"What does black belt mean to me? It means that I physically, verbally, and mentally express the attitudes of seeking, learning, being open to correction, humility, patience, perseverance, courage, obedience, justice, respect, courtesy, faithfulness, self-control, aggressiveness tempered with peacefulness, self-respect, respect for others, gratefulness, honesty, responsibility, willingness to teach, and share knowledge, and calmness when needed not only when one does karate in the dojo, but also when they live outside of the dojo. Attaining a black belt means that my Sensei sees that kind of quality in me. I've met a lot of black belts who do not live up to what I have seen in my First Shotokan Sensei, and what I believe a black belt represents.. but that is not important.. because the meaning of black belt has become what it is for me.. and THAT is what counts. "

It is 5 years later, and I am facing the same question, but now from a position of experience, and knowledge. I have achieved Black Belt status in one Art, and have had it revoked from me more quickly than it took to gain it. I have learned much from this experience.

My answer today is as follows:

"Black Belt" quality does not always exist in the minds, hearts, and spirits of those who are wearing this color around their waist. It is not just the ability to put forth one's skills that makes one a Black Belt, it is the reason that they do what they do that makes each action honorable, respectable, and admirable.

A student can have the inner strength, and foundation for Black Belt right from the first time that they cross the threshold of the Dojo door, but it is through their effort, their victory over their challenges, and the accumulation of experiences that they can reveal this reality to the world.

Other Black Belts can recognize the "right stuff" in each other, and we respond by rejoicing, and admiring the goodness that is present. Therefore, in my opinion, the worthiness of a Black Belt lies in the eyes of the one who presented it to you.

My Shotokan Black Belt was awarded to me by an Honored 8th Dan Master ( I am not allowed to speak the name of him, nor of the organization). However, I will treasure that recognition, because of that Master. He did not really know me as a student, as he had come from another city, and had to judge me solely by the effort I placed in that test. I am proud of that achievement.

Since then, I have been recognized by various honorable, wise, and experienced Martial Artists. It is a joy to hear their words of support, encouragement, and praise. I feel that I have represented my Kyokushin Sensei adequately for the time being.

My future Kyokushin Black Belt will be awarded to me by Sensei that have known me for many years. They know my strengths, my weaknesses, and have seen every step of my journey. I can guarantee that I will be tested to the limits of what I believe I can achieve, but I know for certain that if I earn the rank of Shodan, this recognition will not be taken from me.....ever.

I AM a Black Belt.. I only need to bring this fact to fruition.


MilkManX said...


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