Saturday, December 1, 2012

Black Belt Graduation

Today we made our 700th Black Belt since 1994.  I know for some that seems like a small number, and for others it seems like a large number, but for us, it is just the road sign we past, that forces me to look back.

Today we had a black belt test.  27 People took black belts in Kenpo or Tang Soo Do. It followed on the heels of the 4 previous Phase Tests; 16 hours of testing and challenge.  This may very well have been the best organized and best attended black belt test we have had in 18 years.

Every school and style has it's own traditions.  Three of ours, having to do with the Black Belt, are part of our ceremony, which is the only public part of the Black Belt test.  

One is the Tradition of YOUR Black Belt.  We give our younger students a LARGE black belt, size 6 or larger, on the basis that they should never have to wear another belt.  Our tradition also states that you should never wear another black belt unless it is given to you by your instructor or by your students.  For all 700 of our black belts we have passed this tradition down.

The second is the meaning of the color belts, which is listed at the top of this article.

The Final piece of tradition that we pass on is that the Black Belt is the only belt that is permanent, and can not be withdrawn by your instructor.  It changes the definition of Loyalty and longevity.  From the moment you get you black belt, your state of mind, opinion and judgment now are at the same relative level as every other black belt.  Loyalty now has to be judged by your definition of service, rather than your instructors.  Longevity was measured is years from starting your training.  Now, it is measured from the point you got your black belt.

Reflecting on those who have passed beneath the veil and become a black belt, I am humbled. What an awesome thing they have done.

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