Martial Arts students see Black Belts as talented individuals. But we know differently.
That knowing came from many bruises and sore muscles. It came from thousands of hours of practice & countless fights - training. It came after alot of hard work. Being a Black Belt is actually a humbling experience.
We feel like we're still learning, developing & continually striving to achieve more. Black Belts may make it look easy & polished. But again, we know better. A stone must endure much wear & tear before its surface is smooth.
Becoming a Black Belt was never easy. It was the hardest thing many of us ever did. It took longer than any academic degree. It required longer hours of study, much more practice and undoubtely more punishment than anything else. That process creates a deep bond between those who have experienced the journey. It is a process that transcends culture, gender, nationality or any identity beyond that of a warrior.
Being a Black Belt may seem like an end goal - but it isn't. Once there you realize it is only a beginning. It is also not something worn around the waist. It's a philosophy that defines your character. It becomes a mindset & way of life. It provides a profound perspective.
Yes, that Black Belt emerged from blood, sweat & tears. It forged character. It bonded fellow practitioners. It is not simply a belt that others see. It is something inside each of us that you don't see.
The character it forges is eternal...the bond between Black Belts is everlasting.
It is a path we all chose. It was a path that was hard fought to achieve. We have demonstrated we will never give up. We will never quit. We will fight any and all evil. And we will do it standing together...
In the end - it has nothing to do with talent.
Author Stephen King said it best:
Talent is cheaper than table salt.
What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work
- Stephen King