People have asked me over the years: “What does it take to become a Black Belt?”
There are many answers from many people. Some folks go into long-winded detail, some folks give shorthand answers like “The 3 Ds of success: Desire, Discipline and Dedication”, or “The 3 Ps of success: Patience, Perseverance and Perspiration”. Some folks say “A Black Belt is simply a White Belt who never gave up.” Some say “Same way you get to Carnegie Hall – practice, practice, practice”.
My answer for a long time has been a sort of mixture of most of the above, plus pointing out that making Black Belt is simply the first goal; it is most assuredly not the last. But one of the best answers that I have seen lately comes from a fellow martial artist up in Michigan. Bill Mattocks and I are Internet friends, we’ve never met – but the other day, he put this up and I think it is a great answer to the question. I am posting this with his kind permission:
Everything you have. For a very long time.
Your sweat, your dedication, your perseverance.
Your deep-seated belief in yourself, your dedicated and expert instructors, their careful tutelage.
Your classmates, your family, your friends urging you onward, celebrating your triumphs, supporting you in your setbacks and temporary failures.
The martial artists who came before you, those who look up to you as an example of what they should be doing, the never-ending road in front of you.
You keep learning, keep trying, keep passing on what you have learned, and that’s all there is. There is no end of the road, you just keep traveling down it.
And eventually you figure out that every step you take is as important as the one before it, and the one you have yet to take. Black Belt is only another stop along the way, there is no end.
Keep training. This is what it takes – everything you have.
Think about it. Are you ready to give everything you have?