I’ve wanted to write Black Belt Guide since 2004. I love writing and teaching and I have wanted to share so many of the tremendous benefits of martial arts training to a wider audience for a long time. I started Karate training in 1982 at the age of 16, competing in my first AAU national Japanese Karate tournament at the age 20 and founding my first dojo at the age of 23.
Be A Black Belt, In Life
One of the greatest things about martial arts training is that the physical and mental skills you learn can be applied to any part of life. Often I am asked “what’s it like to be a black belt”. I’ll get more into this in the forthcoming posts I write, but this blog isn’t about martial arts, per se. My purpose in writing this is to share with you what are the core elements that black belts possess in my view, and how you, without any training, can develop yourself to have a black belt mentality. A warrior’s attitude. You don’t have to punch or kick to “do martial arts”. But, you do have to show up.
So, can you fly?
Seriously, what is it with the flying thing and martial arts? There are so many misconceptions. Want to learn how to smash your hand through a brick and impress your girlfriend? Well you won’t learn that little technique here. But you will learn how to develop your mind to push through any barrier, which is what the purpose of “breaking” anything is about. How about making all those primal Kung Fu noises like Bruce, Jackie or Jean Claude? We won’t cover that here either. However we will talk about how to control your breathing and use it to generate power (see the next post). And sorry to disappoint – there is no flying involved in any of this.
As a Vice President in large information technology company I don’t get as much of a chance to workout like I used to. But I am always doing martial arts, even in business settings. I don’t mean throttling an un-cooperative customer (not that I wouldn’t like to sometimes). I mean understanding when to walk away from a conflict not worth fighting over – like an unreasonable demand – or holding your ground without flinching, such as in a high stakes negotiation. Or talking with your nine year old.
An Attitude – Developed
Ultimately, martial arts training, and by extension being a black belt, is all about being in control of yourself. That sounds like an odd statement (aren’t we all in control of ourselves?). But really it isn’t (because we aren’t “in control” as much as we can be). There are a lot of blogs on the internet today providing very good advice on “how to be productive” and “10 steps you can take to accomplish your goals”. All with very good advice and noble intentions. But few of them help their readers recognize the underlying skills and principles that need to be applied to succeed. And that’s what we are going to do here.
I Rei to You (we are bowing to each other now)
I want to thank you for coming by my digital dojo and seeing what I have to offer. I hope to create a little community that can benefit from the ideas presented here. And like all good dojos (and communities) I hope to learn from you too. So please, join in the conversation. In a Japanese karate dojo it is very common to acknowledge those who have trained before us and have passed knowledge along over generations. “To those who have gone before…” I bow to you. And to those that come I bow as well in friendship and understanding.