Black Belt…Earning this title is the primary focus and objective for many martial artists worldwide. They want the skill, the recognition; to see their name up in lights, if you will. There are many schools that facilitate this way of thinking, some that even encourage it! They allow you to pay them more money in order to do less work to get there. Problem is, when a student has this mindset, Black Belt becomes nothing more than an expensive piece of fabric. All of the students in the Pride family share a common goal: to develop the characteristics of a winner while working towards earning their Black Belt.
Perseverance is a crucial part of this process. With it, short-term failure is inevitable, as is long-term success. It is only through these learning experiences that our students can truly achieve the character qualities that they desire. If the coaches were to never give the students a challenge, never put an obstacle in their way, and never test their resolve, then where is the sense of pride that comes from overcoming what is difficult? Where is the confidence that comes from knowing that they can handle anything that life throws at them? If the coaches resort to giving away belts, then that title of Black Belt will never mean anything. In fact, does it even belong to that student at all?
It is not my job to do the work for my students on their journey to Black Belt. It is not my job to make sure that they are practicing at home. It is not even my job to make sure that they pass their Belt Tests. This is true for all of the coaches, because it is not our belt-it is the student’s.
Think about it this way: If a child has his parent do all of his homework for him, while he just sits back and watches, does he truly earn that grade? Does that grade belong to him, or his parents? Now consider this: His parents help him by giving him the tools he needs for a good grade. They give him the chapter that he needs to look in for the answer. They give him a head start, and allow him to finish from there. They give him a quiet space to work, and help him if he truly doesn’t understand something.
That is our job as coaches. We give our students the tools they need for success. We give them every resource in order to better learn and understand what is being taught. But the coaches will never do it for them, because the Black Belt is more than a belt-it is a lifestyle of success.
See you on the mat,