Is Being a Black Belt the Ultimate Goal?
By Jeffrey Rudd
Movies propagate the fact that any black belt at any time can overcome one or multiple attackers in any situation at any given moment. Kids grow up thinking “If I am a black belt – I will be all powerful, can climb buildings and defy gravity.”
While on the big screen, this may be true, I have learned the reality that being a black belt is in more ways than one, just the beginning of ones Martial Art education. As I have continued down the path to earn my Black Belt, the closer I get the more I realize how much I know, but how much more there is to learn.
Timing, Control, Distance, Speed, and Power. All these things are integral in being a better Martial Artist. But Thinking is the most important skill of them all. You train so that your body knows how to react in any situation. This includes training your brain to anticipate what your opponent will do, before they do it. Most important is knowing “my first option is to avoid any interaction, but – if I am unable, then I have the strength and courage to defend myself.”
To me – being a Black belt is also about teaching, sharing, and not being afraid to point out the mistakes of lower belts in order to help them grow. Having a black belt is a responsibility and it is a right that is earned, not one that should be expected for just showing up a certain number of times.
It has been said many times that “Life is a Journey, not a Destination”. I think this can also be said about a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. I have worked for over 16 years from the first time I started Tae Kwon Do in 1991 through today – and I can assure you that being a Black Belt is a Goal – but – the Ultimate Goal for me is to represent that belt with Pride, and that means to continue to learn and to teach others so that they too can reach their goals.
By Jeffrey Rudd – December 2006
The 5 tenets of Tae Kwon Do are Courtesy, Integrity,
Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit – general rules to
live by both in life and Tae Kwon Do. I work hard to do my best to live by
I first started Tae Kwon Do in July of 1992 when I was home for the summer from college – since then I have re-started 4 different times, this being the 4th time. Each time previous to this, circumstances prevented me from getting to my black-belt test. It can be said that through Perseverance – I am now achieving my goal.
Achieving the level of Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do provides a strong sense of pride as, while I enjoy the physical aspects of Tae Kwon Do, I respect the mental aspects the most. To me - Tae Kwon Do is more than just a physical exercise – it is about mentally being prepared and being willing to help others – even when it is the unpopular thing to do or say.
As a high belt in Tae Kwon Do – I share the sprit of helping others to excel and become the best martial artist that they can – not through great gestures, but through small acts such as helping correct a Doi Yuh Cha Gi (round-house) or Ap Cha Gi (front snap kick). These little actions are the things that help make me better, and help show that I am eager to represent the values that are associated with earning the degree of Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
I look forward to my journey of learning the martial art of Tae Kwon Do as I continue to reach for my First Degree Black Belt, and the additional degrees that follow. Perseverance has gotten me to this point, and it will continue to help me achieve my future accomplishments.