Spirit of a Taekwondo Black Belt
Allen Williams - First Degree Black Belt
Studying the martial arts takes discipline and a goal in mind. When first starting out, it seems like a lifetime away from earning your black belt. It is not only the time that seems so far away, it is the mindset that you will never be able to do those things that you see the black belts or even any higher rank do. At one time they were all beginners too. What you need to keep in mind when setting your goal to earn your black belt is not to look at the end result because that will be overwhelming and many times students drop out halfway through or before because the goal seems out of reach. You need to take what is known as baby steps and think of much smaller goals such as learning one form or self defense at a time. Set your goal on accomplishing little things and earning each rank knowing that you did your best and you accomplished it. Before you know it you will be a Black Belt. Black Belts don't give up. Keep thinking you can do it and you will do it. I was out of shape, I smoked for 27 years, and when I started training, I got into shape, and before long I was able to do the same things the other black belts 20 years younger than me could do. Yes it took time and hard work, but by being persistent I was able to reach my goals. After a few years, I was proud to earn my black belt at the age of 45 years old, and trust me, don't let age fool you, I can do the cartwheels and high kicks just like anyone else. I was part of the Demo Team and the Extreme Martial Arts program. I also went into the Instructor Program and started instructing my own classes. You can do it too! Never give up. Set your thoughts on your goals and go for it!
The Physical and Mental Benefits
The physical and mental benefits of Taekwondo training are far greater than most people realize. Taekwondo is a Korean word made up of three Korean words; Tae , which means “to kick or jump”; kwon , which means “fist or hand”, and do , which means “the way”. The words were put together as one word Taekwondo, to form a new meaning; “The way of the hand and foot”.
Songahm Taekwondo is a martial arts style designed for self defense. Although the style is the most recognized form of self defense in the world, the Songahm Taekwondo training is also taught for physical and mental conditioning.
As a student of Songahm Taekwondo, the student learns many life skills such as Confidence, Attitude, Goals, Respect, Self Esteem, Perseverance, Focus, Discipline, and Integrity . These values are taught daily along with physical skills to help the student prepare for personal success in life.
The physical skills learned through structured body positions (stances), hand movements, and kicks are designed in such a way to increase flexibility of the muscles and joints, build strength in the muscles, and increase speed in hand and foot movements for a rapid reflex reaction when needed for defense. When the life skills and the physical skills are combined in a structured training process, the body and mind work together, thus creating a well rounded martial artist.
Spirit of a Black Belt
The following poem is about a student of the martial arts style, Songham Tae-kwon-do. In this poem the reference to Songham 1, 2, and 3 etc. refer to the forms or katas that the student was learning. For anyone that has gone through any martial arts training they will know that you need to be disciplined in order to be good at the art. This is an insight of one student as he was just starting out and then working his way up through the ranks to the goal of becoming a Black Belt. I was that student, and I wrote this poem to describe my experience. I hope you enjoy it.
He came to class for the very first time.
When they said line up, he was last in line.
He knew someday he would be number one,
In that class of thirty, or thirty one.
A black belt was the goal to be.
So he stood there tall, and began to think.
What he needed to do, how he needed to act.
To change that white belt to a belt of black.
He punched and he kicked as instructed to do.
As he imagined he was fighting an opponent or two.
As his heart raced faster, he continued the drill,
He would not stop, he loved the thrill.
The thrill of winning, and being number one.
The thrill of being, and conquered by none.
As each day past, he came to class,
To learn some more of the ancient past.
Like cool things to do with a weapon or two,
The moves were fun and exciting to do.
Learning a form while shadow fighting.
Enhancing the moves with power of lightening.
Songham one, two, and three, he learned with ease.
Songham four and five, he took in stride.
His belt changed color a few more times,
As he continued to keep his goal in mind.
He learned that the martial arts were much more than defense and fighting.
While learning about life skills such as respect was very enlightening.
Having respect for others, and treating them kind,
Made him have many new friends, and less hate inside.
He learned about self confidence, having discipline, and esteem.
He learned that by being persistent, he could reach his goals with ease.
He learned that a positive attitude is the key to his success.
He learned that failure is a way to learn, and it happens to the best.
Then he realized this black belt thing,
He already has deep within.
Within his heart the spirit lies.
Within his thoughts the knowledge hides.
But a Black Belt is not created.
Nor is a Black Belt taught.
A Black Belt is a symbol worn,
On the waist by those that fought.
Warriors that overcame their fears,
Internal victory that forces tears.
A fight that comes from within one’s self.
A goal that’s reached by no one else.
The things he learned were just reminders of knowledge already possessed.
Hidden deep within, somewhere forgotten until brought out by the best.
The skills were enhanced by mentors and masters, experts of the art.
To uncover the true spirit of a black belt that lies deep within the heart.