Congratulations on achieving your Shodan-Ho (Provisional Black Belt), and welcome to the section of our website dedicated solely to your ongoing development and education.
There really is an amazing feeling like no other when a student achieves their Black belt in Martial Arts. It is an achievement of the highest regard, especially knowing that the reality is that for every 1000 people who start the journey to Black belt, less than 1% actually reach it.
So, you may consider yourself to be in that 1% of people. You have made the decision, sacrifices, and put in the hours of effort and dedication for 4 or 5 years, and now you can stand tall in the knowledge that you have achieved an amazing feat. Well Done!
Now, as you may already have heard on many occasions, what was once regarded by you as the ultimate end goal (reaching Black belt), has now become the ‘new beginning’. As Kancho Sullivan has said on many occasions, reaching the level of Black belt is like completing your apprenticeship. You have learnt some skill and developed sound training habits. It is now time to put those skills and tools to work, and focus on how to use your new skill sets to develop your karate ability to higher levels.
With a humble attitude and an open mind, you are now primed to really kick your journey into high gear. You must remain focused on continual improvement, both in and out of the dojo, and keep looking at everything you do with fresh eyes. Do not fall into the ‘I know that’ trap. This is a dangerous place for Black belts to get to, as it will allow your ego to get in the way of your progress.
The other and equally important thing to do is to keep setting new goals. One of the main reasons why Black belts quit karate is because they stop setting goals. They see the black belt as the end, and therefore they ultimately come to the end of their training. The best way to ensure that you do not stagnate in your journey is to set new goals, and see this level as just the beginning of your REAL Karate journey.