T. Carr – 3-Dan
You could ask ten Black Belts and receive ten different responses. It is a ponderous, awesome and personal thing, to attain and hold a rank of standing in this art, but what does it mean? There is no cookie-cutter response that is the same for everyone, but there are some common generalities. Here are a few of those.
- We believe in practicing the Tenets of Taekwondo at all times, even when outside the dojang. We ascribe to treating others with respect and patience, being confident in ourselves, in never giving up and always comporting ourselves with honesty. These are simply universal core values that are at the center of who we aspire to be.
- We believe in helping others on their journey, just as others have helped us upon ours. Someone once said that it’s lonely at the top. While we don’t have the hubris to believe there is a top, or that we are alone upon it, the best solution to being alone at the top is to help others climb as continue to do so ourselves.
- We’ll take the difficult path. We’ll practice when we’re exhausted, ache physically, or feel emotionally defeated. Strength of character cannot be instilled overnight; it cannot be instantly or painlessly developed; it must be cultivated over time and through great effort.
- The journey has no end. When that black strip of cloth is finally tied about your waist, it does not signify the end of your journey. It’s a milestone, a personal and monumentally important moment that you will remember for the rest of your life, but it is only a milestone. If you let it be the end of your journey, you will miss a great deal more than you have learned already. The understanding of any martial art is a life-long process.
- Lastly, being a Black Belt represents a colossal accomplishment. It represents years of toil and sweat, of overcoming obstacle after obstacle, a refusal to quit, a dedication to developing the will to always keep going. It reminds us of how many times we’ve picked ourselves up off of the mats and tried again.
Finally, being a Black Belt is an incredibly personal accomplishment. If you ever get the opportunity, ask a Black Belt what it means to them. You might be surprised by how personal the response is, the sincerity they speak with, and if there’s any doubt in your mind that the pursuit of such a thing is worthy, you’ll need no further justification than the pure pride in their eyes.