to get a black belt in 10 minutes, guaranteed!
By Robert P. Coble, Jr., Instructor
It's easier than you
might think. Just go to the nearest martial arts supply store, whip out
about eight bucks, buy one, and you're done.
Of course, the belt wasn't earned. That's the point. Too many people in
today's fast paced world want everything NOW. It cannot be that way with
martial arts training, any more than I can play piano like Beethoven in
5 easy lessons. When a beginning student or parent asks me how long it
takes to get a black belt, my answer is this: "Do you want to be
a black belt, or do you want to be a martial artist?"
A very common complaint I receive as an instructor is "Hey, I can
go to this school down the street and get a black belt in less than two
years. Why should I spend four to six years at your school?" Fair
enough. Most of my students only reach blue belt, maybe green belt, inside
of two years. But if I take a martial artist that averages three classes
a week for two years and compare that person to a martial artist that
averages three classes a week for five years, who has more experience?
All black belts are absolutely not created equal. It's no different
in the real world. Compare a job applicant with a two year degree from
a community college with an applicant with a four year degree from Harvard
or Yale. Both have a "degree." Which applicant do you think
will get hired?
Rank should never be the goal when studying martial arts. Many people
don't like to hear this, but paying for a black belt contract does not
guarantee the actual achievement of the rank of black belt. Only the opportunity
Every now and then, one of us instructors will fail a student going up
for promotion. I don't particularly enjoy seeing a student fail a test,
but it beats giving a belt to a student that didn't earn it or isn't ready
for it. Giving away rank lowers standards, and it doesn't do the student
any favors. The student will simply be ill prepared for the next set of
challenges, which can cause much more frustration than failing a test.
When one student fails, the other students then realize nothing is going
to be given to them, which can make them take their own training more
seriously. If no one ever fails, it becomes common knowledge that promotion
will be granted regardless of performance. Rank then becomes worthless.
Something else few martial artists understand is that the rank of first
degree black belt is simply a beginning. Just like a college degree, it's
wonderful to have, but it is only the beginning of a career. Employers
want real world experience, as do martial arts students. The question
is, once you get the degree, how do you plan to apply it?
When looking at a school, pay attention to the quality of instruction.
Are the techniques being broken down in a manner that the students are
able to comprehend? Are the techniques effective against someone that
is putting up resistance, or are they just choreographed and flashy? Is
control and safety practiced and enforced? Are techniques and drills repeated
to the point that the learned skills become second nature? Are the instructors
willing to offer assistance outside of class? Do the instructors maintain
control and discipline at all times while still making class enjoyable
and rewarding for the students? Do the instructors continue to learn new
material themselves, or do they reach first degree black belt and suddenly
become "all knowing"? Do the instructors periodically go back
to the basics? Many people fail to realize that just because a person
may be a good martial artist does not necessarily mean that person is
good at teaching.
My best advice to my students is not to focus on the goal, but rather
focus on the journey. Don't think of the next belt rank, think of what
you can do right now to become better at your art, whether it be Karate,
Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Kung Fu, or any of the other martial
arts. Push yourself harder and kiai louder than the person next to you.
Do more than your instructor asks of you. Try your best, even if you think
your instructor isn't watching. Remember, perfection is unattainable.
Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. Practice sloppy
and weak, you will become sloppy and weak. There is always more to learn,
no matter how many stripes you have on your belt. Be open minded towards
other schools and other styles. Always try to learn more. Believe me,
when you focus on the learning process, you will achieve rank sooner than
you may think. And as ironic as it may seem, the rank itself will no longer
you are interested in trying our system of karate, click here
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