I had to think about this. When I was five, I hated karate because my parents forced me to do it. Later I realized I enjoyed karate and working towards my next belt. I always felt a sense of achievement when I got to the next belt because I earned that belt by knowing my curriculum and working hard. I felt a huge sense of achievement when I graduated into the next class. I thought about it a long time before I got an answer of why I felt that way.
As I got older and started focusing more in class and working more out of class I realized that the harder I worked the more I would accomplish and the quicker I would get my next belt. Then I started working harder in other aspects of my life such as school, squash, and rock climbing. Dedication and perseverance were only two of the qualities of a black belt, so I started trying to apply all the black belt qualities in my life. Even when I wasn’t a black belt, or training to be one, just the idea of it helped me in my life. So, I think of the black belt as being an object, the belt, but it’s also an idea, which I’ve spent more than half my life trying to achieve.
For instance, one time in class we were doing a writing project and the teacher said we had to write two pages. Everyone else in the class grumbled and complained about how much work we had to do, but I just sat there because I thought it wasn’t that much work and it wouldn’t take me that long. That night I started writing my story and realized that I would need to write a little more than two pages. So, I wrote another page, and another page, and I kept writing until I felt the story was finished. I wanted to go above and beyond, just as I was trying to do in karate.
Another example of how the qualities of a black belt helped me improve my life is at karate. Before I applied the qualities of a black belt to other aspects of my life, I had to do it in karate. I wasn’t working super hard in karate… I wasn’t giving it my all… I wasn’t coming enough during the week. I was also lazy in class and sparring and was trying to get out of exercise as much as possible. Then I applied the qualities of a black belt to karate and everything changed. I got much better in sparring. I was getting stronger and more capable of doing the exercises. I started getting more stripes on my belt, and I started practicing karate as much as I could throughout the week.
Being a black belt is my goal. My goal to obtain the physical belt, and grasp the entire concept of it, so I’ll be better at karate, school, and other sports. The black belt being something I need to work for is a good thing because it supplies me with an objective that is incredibly hard to obtain and makes me work for it. All of this is a what a black belt means to me – an idea and achievement that must worked for and can only be earned by lots of effort.