Black Belt Essay: What It Is and What It Takes by Shawna

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Shawna in her provisional black belt. Aiming for 1st degree!

Shawna is a provisional black belt candidate for 1st degree. Here’s her black belt essay! I love how she talks about what a black belt DOES, how they interact with others and how they treat their own goals.

Kindness, awareness, respect, and persistence–check out Shawna’s essay after the jump to find out what she really thinks it means to be a black belt!!

Black Belt: What it is and What it Takes by Shawna

Black belts might seem rough and tough on the outside, but really they are just patient and determined white belts that were dedicated enough to change their colors. Almost like sandpaper. It may look rough, but if you sand away with it enough, you discover under all that grit is just regular paper. Black belts work hard and strive to meet their goals. If they meet the goals or pass them, then they just make new ones. But, even a black belt doesnʼt meet their goals right away. Even they arenʼt perfect. They make mistakes just like everybody, but itʼs how they overcome those mistakes that separate them from everybody else.

It takes, not only determination, but self-control to be a black belt. They donʼt boast or brag about their rank, and they donʼt do martial arts at inappropriate times. Black belts use self-restraint to prevent themselves from showing off or going too hard on a lower belt rank or a younger student. If they use full force against students, they could not only intimidate them, but injure them too. Black belts are patient and keep their temper in check because if they didnʼt, students could get demotivated and enjoy themselves less. Working students too hard might make them not retain the information as well as when they learn one step at a time.

Black belts have to be alert at all times to be able to spot a problem in class. They need to be able to take control of any situation and be responsible for the actions of the other students in the class. Black belts need to realize if students donʼt understand what is being taught or if they are becoming frustrated. They need to teach lower belts at a speed they can learn at, which might not be the same as a different student of the same belt.

Having a black belt gives you a sense of accomplishment in life. To get a black belt, students need to earn it. They learn from their mistakes and do better the next time. They help students who look up to them, including other black belts. Helping others helps themselves. Black belts do not strive for conspicuousness or compete with others, but compete with themselves and try to be the best they can be, to the best of their ability. Black belts look out for their fellow students.

Mostly, black belts are respectful to their peers and, in turn, are respected by others. Black belts might not agree with everything being said, but they still respect the person saying it.

Lower belt levels shouldnʼt get intimidated by black belts. They might know more techniques and spot their mistakes quicker, but only because they have trained hard and have done it for more years. Who knows, the same lower belts might be seen years later, in the same position, wearing black belts tied firmly to their waists.

About Sensei/YDN Caitlin

Sensei Yudanjanim Caitlin is a 2nd degree black belt, senior instructor, administrative assistant, and student of Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Arnis at Northwest School of Martial Arts.
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