With the proliferation of black belts in the market a simple thought came to my mind. What is a black belt? I actually have potential students and parents that simply ask questions such as: how long does it take to be a black belt? How much will it cost? However, no one asked about what is a black belt so here it is.
A black belt is a piece of cloth used to hold together the top of our work out clothes. This particular piece of cloth does not award special powers to its user. If anything, the tear and wear of the same is nothing but a record of hard work, sweat, tears and sometimes injuries that we attain thru our martial arts’s journey.
From a different point of view, the black belt was a white or beige piece of cloth that turned charcoal with its use and abuse. In some cases this piece of cloth starts tearing down and showing its inner contents which are white. So you could consider that a black belt is a white belt that with time and use became black.
In the martial arts world we use a black piece of cloth as a uniform means of communicating to others the fact that we have been on this “road” for some time. Most of all, but not all, are also willing to share the experience we obtained in the past and we welcome others to share the road with us. Hence the interpretation of a black belt wearer as an instructor, but be warned that wearing a black belt may not be a true indication of expertise or knowledge.
However, regardless of how you look at it, a black belt is not a piece of cloth you wear but a person who thru hard work and persistence is in the road of enlightment. Each one of us is different as our journey has had a way to shape our lives but even with all these differences we are part of a brotherhood that transcends time, politics and race.
So I welcome you to join us and take the opportunity to learn the difference between wearing a black belt and becoming one.