What Happens After Achieving Black Belt?
It is easy if you don’t have education and guidance from your instructor to become content after gaining your dan grade as for many students that is the overall aim of their training. Often unintentionally students stop listening and communicating with their instructor and find themselves wandering off the Taekwondo path.
The key to having longevity in the martial arts is constant progression. Your Taekwondo life is something you can do until you die. If you are ever satisfied with your own training or not willing to push the martial art forward and stand still you will inevitably quit your training.
Example of progression in the martial arts from beginner level:
WHITE BELT KUP GRADE DAN GRADE ASSIST YOUR
INSTRUCTOR 2ND DAN TAKE ON CLUB RESPONSIBILITY
3RD DAN OPEN A CLUB BECOME AN INSTRUCTOR PRODUCE
GOOD MARTIAL ARTISTS TAKE ON ASSOCIATION RESPONSIBILITY
4TH DAN ENSURE THAT YOUR STUDENTS ARE CAPABLE OF
CONTINUING THIS CIRCLE OF EDUCATION AND PRODUCING GOOD
MARTIAL ARTISTS THEMSELVES.
The above example is obviously dependant on age but there is no set time in which to achieve these aims. The main thing is that you have a martial arts goal and are constantly striving to better yourself and promote the martial art. The day you stay static in one stage and are happy there is the day you’ll become a useless black belt.
A Master once described to his student the attitude of approaching their training with an empty cup. Basically translated this means to imagine every time you step onto the floor to train you become a white belt again wanting knowledge to fill your cup. Can you remember when you first started training and listened carefully and craved knowledge? It is easy at black belt level to stop listening because you think you know it all already. This mentality is not only big headed but detrimental to your training whatever your grade. Remember your instructor is your eyes and no matter how long you have been training you will always have faults that need correcting. You must always strive for better technique.
True black belt training is as basic as you can get. If you have excellent basics you will have strong foundations to build the rest of your martial art including poomsae, free sparring and one-step sparring. How good you are at Taekwondo is 100% down to how much you practice, like everything else in life it’s not magic but repetition and practice.
The period of two years between 1st and 2nd Dan is a crucial point in a new black belts career. Many become bored at doing the same technique and by the time you get to black belt there are actually very few techniques that you don’t already know. How black belt training differs from that of kup grade is that black belt training is all about having the confidence and self control to put the techniques into realistic situations.
Black belt mentality, as mentioned earlier, is to train hard and never be satisfied with your technique always be over critical.
To many kup grades the martial art is nothing more than kicking your legs about and trying to advance physically. But to black belts it should be a complex and very difficult way of life and not something to be messed around with or treated light-heartedly.
The martial art is a very dangerous weapon if not treated with respect and those students who are not willing to live the Taekwondo way of life should not become a black belt. If you practice the martial art both inside and outside the Dojang Taekwondo being a black belt is not just something you wear it is a way of life and a huge part of you.