Nothing in the martial arts has been so misunderstood or under appreciated as the Black Belt. Many students mistakenly believe that to reach Black Belt is the end of the journey, and it's an appropriate time to move onto other activities. Others devalue it to the point of going online and purchasing their own from one of the many supply stores that sell them, just to impress their friends. But really, what does it mean to BE a black belt?
A black belt by itself is a long strip of cotton that we tie around our uniforms to hold it in place, but what it represents is so much more. A black belt, at least in our school, represents years of hard work and dedication. It represents countless hours of practice working towards perfection. But most of all, a black belt represents a promise. A promise to continue, to persevere.
Black Belt isn't the end of the journey, but the beginning. In Japanese, when you reach black belt you are called a Shodan, literally meaning "first level." It's the equivalent of graduating from high school. You've mastered the foundation of your system and are ready to grasp greater concepts and technique. It's a doorway to finding your path in the martial arts.
Tonight, I want all of our students to really consider what it means to be a black belt, to always give your best, because remember:
"A Black Belt is simply a White Belt that never quit"