WHAT IS A BLACK BELT?

It’s a piece of material designed to go around your waist, right? Anyone can buy one, make one, or even wear one. Wrong. Anyone can wear one but is your character ready or morally ready for one? Most people feel they are physically ready no matter what shape they are in (excluding true Martial Artists who know differently already, regardless of rank).

Black Belt is not a status once achieved that makes you invincible. It doesn’t make you Superman or woman; that’s comic book stuff. It doesn’t make you less “afraid” in a fearful situation (granted everyone’s fear level is different). It can make you able to handle that fear and use it in a constructive way.

It doesn’t make you hate going to the dentist any less. Your training should help you handle the anxiety, though.

It doesn’t make you any less a victim if you are, say, walking in a dark alley after dark by yourself. It doesn’t mean a mugger will not attack you, hit you, or whatever. Your training should have you avoiding dark alleys after dark by yourself.

Having a Black Belt doesn’t mean you can’t bleed, can’t feel pain, can’t die. Don’t flaunt it. Don’t ask for trouble.

But at the same time don’t be ashamed of all the hard work required to obtain it. Of all the mental discipline it took during your journey of all your sweat and yes…tears, I’m sure, frustration, pain, and happiness.

I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard, “But you’re a Black Belt.” Just because I am a Black Belt doesn’t mean I am any less anxious when my husband gets an emergency call during the night. Again, it’s how I handle it.

Black Belts can break blocks and boards, and necks too, it the situation needed it. But they also should be able to comfort a child, handle grief through tears, and laugh at themselves and with others. In other words, a Black Belt should be a well-rounded, caring, capable human being: One who will not misuse Martial Arts and who will treat her training with the responsibility and reverence, to herself and society, it deserves.

Isn’t that another reason your Black Belt lengths are equal on each side when you tie your belt? The physical is equal to the mental.

My belt is important to me, very. I sweated a lot for that thing. I probably would feel naked without it. But I don’t feel it is as important to me as a Yellow one is to a beginner.

Remember when just holding your new belt was the greatest thing? Don’t get me wrong on this, but at this stage of my training the physical and mental are the most important, I can see beyond the cloth (remember, anyone can buy one).

I would hope that if I never wore a belt to class that a stranger could walk in and see by my attitude and how I acted that I was indeed a true Black Belt.

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