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What A Black Belt Means to Me by Josh Green

In the world of martial arts, the ultimate goal is to achieve the level of black belt. This is no easy task, for students of martial arts must first receive instruction from other black belts, progressively advancing through the ranks in order to attain a black belt. This process, done correctly, takes many years to complete, and demands much from the student. A black belt is much more than a strip of fabric that simply signifies ones skills in martial arts. To me, a black belt is a symbol that shows great dedication, discipline, and drive from a person.

Being a black belt means dedication for several reasons. One reason is that someone training for a black belt has had to go through several years of learning katas and techniques, committing them to memory, and perfecting them. Another reason a black belt means dedication is that a person training for black belt has to attend class regularly, and when they are not able to, attend make up classes. This does not just mean normal karate classes once a week, this means attending sparring, joining Black Belt Club, and attending test prep classes. Finally, being a black belt can mean dedication because a student must take time out of their schedule to attend class.

Another symbol of black belt is discipline. One reason being a black belt means discipline is that a student can not simply attend class, go home, and hope to remember the material the next class. A student must practice to become a black belt, and constant practice is a good indicator of discipline.  Another reason being a black belt means discipline is that a good student must exhibit self-control, a key part of discipline. Instead of goofing around and not paying attention in class, in order to become a black belt a student must pay attention and show discipline. A final reason that being a black belt means discipline is that a student must show character, stepping up in order to be a leader, another key trait in discipline.

A third symbol of what a being a black belt means is having drive. One reason being a black belt means drive is that a student must work hard and have motivation to continue working for black belt, which takes a long time. Another reason that being a black belt means having drive to me is because there is much more than simply earning a junior black belt. To show true dedication, one must not only attempt to earn junior black belt, but to move on to senior black belt, first degree black belt, and so on, a path of dedicated learning and teaching. A final reason that being a black belt means drive to me is because a student must put in a lot of effort to gain black belt, without effort, a student will simply not learn, and do poorly on the black belt test.

Being a black belt can mean a multitude of different things, but to me, it means having dedication, discipline, and drive. To be a black belt can show all of these things, but it also ensures that a student grows good leadership skills, good character, and attains a useful skill that may help them later on in life.

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