Black Belt Excellence

The black belt is recognised as the epitome of excellence. It represents being “the best of the best” and is often used as a metaphor for personal best preparation, training, and performance. It is evidenced time and again as the highest achievement and peak of performance abilities in many more applications than simply that of the martial arts from which it originated.

Instinctively, martial arts are most often thought of as a system of combat practices; fighting arts that are related to self defence, as well as military and law enforcement applications. Indeed, those applications are quite true. However, the character, leadership, and mental training that are necessary to achieve excellence are absolutely necessary too and are often overlooked.

The highest value in training in martial arts is development of personal best achievement; success that must be evident in attitude, behaviour, and abilities. It is training that requires commitment to learning, practice, character development, and leadership. All of these lead to transferable skills that are applicable to approaching work, school, social relationships, solid values and satisfaction from the pursuit and accomplishment of short; mid; and long-term goals.

Our training incorporates development of:

  • Basic skills
    • High goal setting (SMART: specific – measurable – achievable – realistic – timely)
    • Motivation for success
    • Self esteem and positive social behaviour
    • Positive attitude
  • Preparation skills – Ongoing motivation for success
    • Vision of performance and outcome
    • Persistent positive self-reinforcement
  • Performance skills
    • Focus
    • Concentration
    • Personal management – self discipline
      • Manage stress
      • Manage anxiety
      • Control emotions

We know that these skills are necessary for personal best performance. Often the development of these skills in the martial arts classroom are, as one friend described them “smoke and mirrors”. They are evident but not overtly positioned. Yes, we remind of the need to follow rules and how to present one’s self according to those rules. We also assure that those rules are practiced in order to become the normal behaviours. The instructors work to identify specific skills that can add to each individual’s skill set for success. All of this is done within the framework of personal achievement and confidence that is gained from overcoming challenges.

“Successful athletes set high, realistic goals for themselves and train and play hard.”
*** Jack J. Lesyk, Ph.D. – Ohio Center for Sports Psychology

As the student progresses, they learn to control both mind and body together. Sequential memory improves; a strong foundation for instruction and learning is developed; a scaffolding of higher-level learning continues; and the student gains from repetition, variation, challenge, competition, individual successes and the resulting physical and mental benefits of a well-balanced individual. The application of these skills leads to success in educational, athletics, and professional performance.

We practice and train in the present moment, in order to progress, with the expectation that we can build from our effort of today during our next practice. That “advantage” is resident in our immediate target and is transferable to our future goals and we reassure that anything worth having is worth working for.

Success results from knowing exactly how much effort was exerted to achieve that personal best performance – – then pushing just a bit farther to improve again and appreciating the achievement of one’s capabilities. Finally, celebrating your victory brings everything to front of mind and clear focus.

Ours is a partnership with students and parents. The colour of the belt measures the goals and challenges that have been accomplished and those that lay ahead. Is getting a black belt easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely – and it is much, much more than something that is tied around one’s waist.