Who Deserves to be a Black Belt???
An Editorial by:
It is said we can do two things with our mouths, we can either build up people or tear them
down. Negative talk and gossip is poison to all who hear it. I challenge each and every martial artist to take a good hard
look at ourselves and ask this question; “Do I build people up or do I tear them down?”
Overtime I have been privy to some rather damaging conversations. “Why is so and
so a Black Belt when they can’t even do x y or z?” or “I can’t believe that person made Black
Belt!” When we say such things, it diminishes all who are in hearing range and it diminishes your integrity as a martial
artist. We should be encouraging one another, learning from one another and putting our best effort forward. Because someone
does form better than you does not diminish your effort or your skill, perhaps you are better at sparring or breaking, it
doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you, YOU, concentrate on improving and don’t worry about the other guy
or gal. How someone else performs or trains as a martial artist has absolutely no bearing on your accomplishments,
whether they are lacking the skill you have or they have more skill than you.
you graduated high school or college, did you graduate head of the class? Did you struggle and barely pull a C average? Does the C average student “Deserve” to graduate or should that only be
given to the best of the best? Does the C student’s ability to graduate
in anyway, shape or form diminish the A students accomplishments? Before we leap to conclusions about whether someone deserves
to be a Black Belt, we should look in the mirror and ask ourselves some serious questions about our humility, or lack there
of, about our courtesy and respect that we are showing to the Master of the school
who is the one making these decisions.
We all need to encourage one another. Everyday I go to class someone there inspires me, it may be a white
belt who is giving it their all to learn a particular kick, or perhaps it is a green belt trying to master the spin heel,
each and every one is an inspiration to me. The encouragement I receive from fellow students has been priceless. We should
all be striving to encourage one another. Many of us have limitations to our success as martial artists, some have hip problems,
neck problems, learning difficulties, but that should not stop any of us from trying to achieve our goals and we should keep
that in mind before we pass judgment on others.
About a year ago I tested for Recommended Black Belt, but do to my poor eating habits and increasing
weight gain, I found myself embarrassed to continue on with my much loved sport, which only compounded the problem of weight
gain. This summer I decided to do something about my weight gain and my much loved sport, in short, I had an epiphany: I didn’t
need to be the best Black Belt in the school, I needed to give my best effort and not worry about what a few people may
say. It breaks my heart to think that some students may be embarrassed to continue because of what others may be thinking
or saying. Remember, when you talk poorly about others it reflects directly on you and your integrity and lack of humility.
It also impacts those around you who are now wondering “wonder what they say about me”.
Remember, there is only one judge in our school, the Master Instructor and he knows more about
each individual's abilities and handicaps and he alone will determine what is acceptable based on that student‘s abilities.
As students, we must show humility in accepting his judgment otherwise we are putting ourselves in a judgment seat that does
not belong to us.
My challenge to you is this: Encourage one another, build each other up. If you see someone
struggling, offer assistance. This is directed to all students and specifically the Black Belts. If another Black Belt is
struggling with something, offer to help, give encouragement, but do not judge harshly someone else‘s abilities compared
to your own.