When I started karate at six years old, a Black Belt seemed like a distant, hazy idea. Surely, it was something I would not achieve for quite a long time coming. So, until recently, it was never given much thought.
Truly, without support, I would not be here now. My family, friends, and especially my instructors are why I can write this. I owe much of my success to my mother and father, for the time and effort they have dedicated to my journey. They’ve been there to watch me climb my mountains, and when I’ve slipped, they’ve helped me find my footing again.
A Black Belt to me—and I’m sure to many Black Belts this is true—is more than just a title. The belt is only an object. It may say on the outside that you are a Black Belt, but what you make of it—your training, your skill, your experience—is what matters. A belt cannot make a martial artist.
For me a Black Belt is eight years of work, of learning. In this time, I’ve not only gained knowledge and skill, but friends I consider family. I’ve gained a confidence I always struggled to find. I’ve also found very few things worth achieving come easily to you in life. People have asked me if I’ll quit after I get my Black Belt, and my answer each time is no. It is not an achievement or a trophy. It is not a finish line for me. A Black Belt is a net step, though certainly not my last. It’s a stop on the journey of becoming the best martial artist I can be.