Thursday, June 6, 2013

Message in a Bottle - Black Belt Testing

Every once in while, the plan actually comes together.  Today, this week, was an example of that at our karate school.

Last week was the first of 5 parts of our black belt test.  The weeks leading up to a black belt test are both exciting, and nerve wracking.  

It's exciting, because black belt is a landmark in a martial artist's life.  It marks the first big check point.  It means they have the basic knowledge of a system within the martial arts, with traditions going back thousands of years, including mental, physical and spiritual understanding and actions.  It means they have arrived at the door of the real training, because they now have all the tools necessary for serious learning. It means they have done something that only 3 out of 1000 who start the martial arts has what it takes to do  In the academic world, it is equivalent to a bachelor's degree; a real honor well earned, but just the starting point.

The nerve wracking part is what happens when parents, rarely students (children or adult) find out that they have not yet been invited.  From time to time, we have to retell the serious but often repeated caution that many people think that they or their loved one is better than someone else that is testing; or that their family member is ready to test and does not understand why they have not been invited.  We always tell them them that everyone who has taken Phase 1, the physical phase, where they spar, run and show general fitness, realizes why they had to wait in retrospect.  NO ONE ever complains that they should have been invited earlier, once they pass phase 1.  This time we had such an explosion of unreality from a family a member.  Sad times. (for details, see The Winner V The 1st Place Loser). 

Today, the reward for doing the right thing came.  5 separate students, or parent's of children students, came to me and said something very like: "I thought I was ready the last test, but now I know there was NO WAY I would have passed the last time."  Wow.  confirmation of a long held belief!

I love it when a plan comes together, and the truth comes out.

Black Belt is mostly in the head.  Anyone who has enough courage, patients and humility can develop the required skills if they hold on.  Today, we once again found out that this is a truth.

It was like a message in a bottle, floating up to us out of the ocean.  You don't expect a bottle.  Once you see it, you don't expect a message in the bottle.  When you read it, you don't expect it to be true.  When you test it, and find that it was true, you feel like are living a dream. 

We are living a dream.  I love it when a plan comes together.

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