So Now What…
Three weeks ago I was awarded my black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu, a capstone moment for an endeavour that began 26 years ago. So now what…
Well, to be honest, nothing. You see while a black belt is a great honor and achievement the point of the martial arts is the betterment of self and that doesn’t stop with a black belt.
I started the martial arts back in 1986 after getting beat up while walking home from elementary school one day by a handful of junior high kids. My Aunt made me, and younger brother start taking karate lessons soon after. I was very much against the idea thinking once the kids found out I’d really get pummeled.
So, my foray into the martial arts had nothing to do with a belt or the goal of getting one. It was triggered by a physical event and driven out of fear for safety. Now, once in the program and the rank and structure unfold other tangible goals begin to form.
This is not to say the desire to achieve belt rank and recognition are bad or detrimental. The need to set short term goals and have achievable milestones are very important for development, motivation, and driving toward larger, long-term success. The question is how we define success.
For me personally, the novelty of belts wore off a long time ago for various reasons. One is my maturity as an adult, educator, and coach. As I grew and my experiences compiled, I began to understand and appreciate the true benefit of the martial arts. Two was understanding my why and what keeps me getting up and coming to the gym every day. Passion is loving the process of doing something regardless of the outcome.
Then there is that dirty little idea that comparison is quickly the thief of all joy in doing anything and being comfortable in who I am and reminding myself why I do this thing called the martial arts.
When I got my black belt, and somebody asked me how I feel I honestly answered…it’s just another Wednesday. That may come across as jaded, and if I’m being honest there is some feeling…I’m only human after all. Truth told; I stopped expecting anything a long time ago. I didn’t start this journey because of a belt so why would I end it for not having one?!
And what’s next? I going to get up tomorrow morning like I always did and teach class to a group of great people. Just like I would have gone without the black belt.
Remember why you started something. Allowing your focus to turn to physical prizes or public acknowledge will only rob your passion, your purpose, your why. Chasing the material loses sight of the intangible and it is the intangible benefits that ultimately pay in spades.
Everyday is Training Day – Reap What You Sow