The Hardest Mountain to Climb is the One Within

If the only goal were to reach the top of the mountain then why not use a helicopter? I must guess that most people that pursue mountain climbing are more obsessed with the journey than the goal. Likewise, if you are going to pursue your Black Belt at First Choice Martial Arts, you must prepare for an exciting journey to the top.

This past week during stripe testing we spoke to our students in length about the process of becoming a Black Belt. In our eyes the goal is not just to wear a Black Belt but to see ourselves as a Black Belt. This means improving daily and turning ourselves into the example that we hope to be. In fact, I remember the day that I tested for my Black Belt and I finally looked at it in the mirror and it felt a little odd and weird at the time. Although I had been training diligently for many years it just did not seem right at the time when I saw it around my waist. Seeing my surprise my Sensei assured me that I had been doing the right thing all along and I was a Black Belt well before my exam day.

At First Choice Martial Arts you will often hear the instructors say to a student, perform your form like a Black Belt. When we give this message, we also remind them that although you might not have the same technique, height and power of a Black Belt there are many qualities a Black Belt possesses that you can emulate. Show a little more focus, be a little bit more determined, show a little more confidence, have a little bit more respect and pay a little more attention to detail. These are things students can do no matter what belt they are and the sooner the better.

In fact, these are the same skills that a Black Belt uses to help them further refine their technique. The nice thing about these types of skills is they do not just impact you at the dojo they have a positive affect in everyday life. Imagine yourself training so diligently and looking for just the slightest progress as you pay attention to the smallest details in your training. Now try to see yourself not translating these same skills into finding little details in your scholastic studies or other hobbies outside the dojo. I would guess it to be almost impossible to be super focused and disciplined in one area of life and let everything go in all the other areas. To me that is what a Black Belt is all about and is why we teach martial arts to the students that train here.

So now, let us go back to our mountain climbing example as there must be an endless itinerary of details to prepare yourself to make the climb. The training and discipline required is no small feat and anybody that is serious about climbing needs a lot of discipline and drive within them. Just like training for your Black Belt you must enjoy the experience and develop the self-discipline, otherwise why not just purchase a belt, and wrap it around your waist. The journey here never ends and anybody that is serious about success knows they can always improve. Even if it is just the smallest improvement moving forward, it is what we have come to expect at our school and would like to see you expect from yourself.

The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. So, lets make it our mantra to treat each day with an opportunity to grow and enjoy the journey to Black Belt success!

Sensei Chris