What happens after you earn a black belt?
Some students can’t see beyond black belt. This type of student often quits after getting their black belt.
What is the meaning of the belt if it just sits on your shelf?
I have two thoughts to share with new (and maybe not-so-new) black belts.
First, find a way to give back to the arts. Teaching is the path to expertise. It lets you pass on your experiences and the wisdom of your teachers–which is how these arts live on.
Second, look around at the belts of the masters, people who have trained for 20, 30, 40 years and more. Like them, aim to turn your black belt back to white. With years of sweat and repeated tying, your belt will fade and fray. The edges will unravel and the whole belt can turn white–if you keep training.
What is the goal of continuing to train? Maybe you will achieve another degree. Achieve the title of master (4th or 5th degree, depending on your style). Achieve perfect technique. Start your own school someday. Master self-defense instincts. Earn a black belt in another art. Compete in tournaments. Improve and maintain your fitness. Master your mind and your life.
“Do karate until I cannot do karate anymore.”
Black belt is not the end; it’s just the beginning.