Earning your black belt is a lofty goal, I won’t deny it. But many people assume once you reach black belt you’ve crossed the finish line and the race is over, when actually the race has just begun.
Black Belt is Only the Beginning
Becoming a black belt is just the beginning of a life-long relationship with martial arts. From a physical standpoint, continuous training provides a healthy and fit body. Mentally your mind stays sharp, relaxed, and stress- free. Not to mention the self-defense. These are all things we need for a happy and successful life.
It saddens me to see a black belt quit their training.
Zach was an amazing student of mine who was also a pretty good hockey goalie. After getting his black belt, Zach told me he wanted to take some time off to focus on hockey.
I respectfully told Zach that as good as he was, there’s a very slim chance he would play hockey at the professional level, where as Tae Kwon-Do will be something you’ll use and benefit from the rest of you life. It will be a part of you no matter what you end up doing.
In the end, Zach decided to take a year off promising he’d return.
Statistically, that never pans out. When a black belt takes 3 months or more off, they will rarely make a comeback. I have had 150 black belts in my school who have taken 3 or more months off, and only 5 made it to the next black belt level.
There are too many things we take for granted, such as the physical strength conditioning and stretching of your muscles. You might be extremely active and fit after quitting Tae Kwon-Do, but without your training your body won’t bounce back. It’s brutal. Painfully difficult and mentally challenging.
So we educate our students that black belt isn’t the end, it’s the beginning.
I compare it to becoming a doctor. The color belts represent medical school. This is the initial training, the building of knowledge and techniques.
After medical school, CONGRATULATIONS!, you’re a doctor, or a black belt in this analogy. This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.
A doctor now enters residency where she applies her knowledge and perfects her skills in order to go out into the world and practice medicine. This is the same for black belts as they earn their degrees throughout their life. The physician benefits from her career in medicine just as you’ll reap the physical and mental rewards Tae Kwon-Do gives you.
Sadly, Zach did not make it as a hockey player. But, true to his word, he returned a year later to resume his training. I welcomed him and praised him for his decision. Nothing pleases me more than to encourage a returning student.
In the end, Zach was another statistic. He couldn’t do it. Physically it hurt him too much, and that took a toll on him mentally.
The black belt is just the beginning of another martial art life.
Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!