What does a Black Belt mean to you?
For me, it's about dedication, commitment and ambition to succeed and push yourself to levels you thought unreachable.
Look closer at the belt and you will see the black silk coming off a white belt. This will only happen from hours of training. The white belt (beginners belt is the start of your journey.) Train long enough and it will be white again.
Similar to the circle of life, starting pure and weak, to grow and learn, becoming strong, mentally and physically. And as you age and mature, you are humbled by life and it's troubles. Hopefully more gracious and kind too.
My Karate and Aikido journey has changed as have I through life. We adapt to the ageing of our bodies. Yet I have turned to my training when I've been mentally troubled. It's given me a focused mind when needed.
None of us knows what's around the corner.
The spiritual side has always played a big part for me. It's all a mind game in life right?
Facing fears of gradings and opponents (we had no age or weight category, it was luck of the draw)
Not being afraid to not win, as long as you tried your best. Get up there and compete.
Gradings, well for the Dan Gradings, it was a visual thing. For me, draw I line in the sand. Step over it and don't let them past it. Protect your family and friends that you had behind your drawn line.
This was about you achieving your goal. ....whatever it took. This was about you and not your opponent. You were there to show you were worthy of the grade.
Injuries were just a reminder that it has to be worth it but I am always thankful to the Sensei and club members around the world who I trained with from around the world on Courses.
My reason for posting is to highlight the strength of visualisation. The mind is a powerful tool. If you can see something then you are halfway there.
Karate has been a big part if my life since 1987, and helped me through some tough times. After all the incidents in the Fire Service and accumulated stresses it's important to remain calm and in control.
Do what you need and listen to your body.
It's not about being better than someone else...........it's about improving you for you.