Black Belt Candidate Essays Musings

6 Things Black Belt Candidates Should Be Doing

When I look at a black belt candidate–a high-ranked student who is getting close to black belt–I usually rely on a gut feeling to tell me whether or not they’re ready for black belt.

By black belt, I mean 1st degree. Provisional black belts are not yet black belts, they are on probation and have to prove themselves worthy of that rank. By “candidates” I mean everyone from brown belt to provisional black belt–people who aren’t yet there but are trying to get there.

The demo team bows after their performance.
The demo team bows after their performance.

Today, instead of relying on my gut, I want to try to articulate some of the things I’m looking for in black belt candidates: all brown, advanced brown, and provisional black belts.

General Musings Special Events

Black Belt Halloween Safety Tips by NW School of Martial Arts

Halloween is probably my favorite holiday, so I wanted to write up my top 10 Halloween safety tips to share with everyone!

Halloween safety tips
Do not mess with these pumpkins…

Halloween is a holiday that makes a lot of moms anxious: gobs of candy to check, gobs of candy ruining appetites, strangers interacting with your kids, and the possibility for teenage mischief-makers.

Don’t let yourself stress. Create a set of ground rules with your kids, using my top 10 as a starting place. Click “more” for my top 10 Halloween safety tips for adults and kiddos.

Special Events

Save the Date: Sparring Tournament November 9, 2013

Please mark your calendars for the upcoming Sparring Tournament, hosted by True Martial Arts – Pine Lake!

Kicking high at a sparring tournament.
Kicking high at a sparring tournament.
  • Date: November 9, 2013.
  • Time: White-adv. green belts begin at 10 am; blue belts & above at 11:30.
  • Place: True Martial Arts – Pine Lake (located at 2912 228th Ave SE, Sammamish 98074).
  • Gear requirements: mouth guard, hand pads, foot pads, head gear, and groin guard (for gentlemen).

We have a few registration forms available in class, but you can also download and print one (below, both files .docx). Please also download & read through the rules on your own. We will dedicate some class time to point sparring practice, but it is your responsibility to be familiar with the rules.

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Defining Progress in the Martial Arts

In some martial arts schools, progress is defined with belt ranks. Students learn new things, test, and then receive new belts. It’s a shiny process. Everyone loves receiving something new. But I’ve asked myself before, and now I’ll ask you:

Do belts equal progress? Which is more important: a pile o’ belts? Or real progress?

Pile o' belts.
Pile o’ belts.

We believe that black belts should be good at martial arts. But at a certain point in everyone’s martial arts career, the rate of technical progress slows. Progress depends greatly on the students’ self-awareness (age/maturity), effort, attendance, and perseverance.

That being said, I realize that it can seem discouraging not to move up in belt rank for a long time. So I’d like to share several other ways I define progress–ones that I think are much more meaningful than a rainbow of belts.