I want to point out that achieving a Black Belt at The Dojo of Karate is really all about the journey and not the ACTUAL belt.
Too many times I have students and parents that ONLY eye the end goal -- a Black Belt. But they miss the lessons learned throughout the journey.
And, those students are usually long gone by now. Mainly because they are so fixated on achieving a Black Belt, they are missing the lessons that are trying to be taught at The Dojo of Karate. Their stubbornness holds them back from being successful.
Time and time again, I see some of the most talented students come through the doors of The Dojo of Karate, with their eyes on the prize, only to fall short of their goal because they didn't acknowledge the importance of the journey. They missed an opportunity to grow and learn. They neglected the fact that they are already a Black Belt, they just need to put in the time to getting a Black Belt.
A saying taught to me at an early age was "a black belt is just a white belt that never gave up."
And, it's true. All of my students have the ability of becoming a Black Belt, but are they willing to do the following:
- Spend the time in grade
- Learn how to fail forward
- Appreciate success
- Cherish the long road to Black Belt
On the other hand, I also have the student that only eyes something else, such as discipline, focus, self-defense skills or respect, but they don't have a clear goal of achieving a Black Belt. Getting to Black Belt is not even on their radar, so learning how to reach a goal is impossible or non existent.
Now, am I being hypocritical with my students when I make the statement in classes that "We Are A Black Belt School"
Again, it goes back to college.
The journey and growth you gain from college is usually life changing, whether you get a degree or not. Obviously, the entire point of going to college is to get a degree, but sometimes the journey and experience in college is equal, if not more important then the degree. The degree can sometimes be looked at as the by-product of achieving the minimum standards set by the university.
Look at Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer. He went to college, dropped out, but stuck around classes to "learn" different things. Then he started Apple Computer. Very impressive if you ask me...
When I was 13 years old, getting ready to test for my Black Belt in a few months, I had a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. As I got closer and closer to my goal, and as my sensei helped me improve, I began to realize that it wasn't just about the belt, but the path to getting to the belt. At that point I realized that Black Belt wasn't just a belt, rather something I wanted to be. I wanted more then just the belt. I wanted to experience all the benefits that came along with being a Black Belt. The knowledge, education, training, experience, privileges, benefits, respect, responsibility, etc.
I wanted it all. Not just the belt...
The toughest part about being a Karate instructor isn't necessarily teaching a student, but getting a student to understand that the journey to success is a long road and only those that are willing to put the time, effort, focus, and desire will come out in the end more successful then their peers.
So, the next time you or your child are a discouraged because it is taking to long to achieve their goal of a Black Belt, ask yourself this question.
"Are you chasing a belt or are you experiencing a journey?"