Well the 2015 Black Belt Grading Training Cycle will be starting in the next few days. We have our annual black belt testing meeting this Saturday at 12pm for all the candidates who will be testing and for all the mentors/instructors. I also enjoy doing these meetings as it gives all the candidates and instructors to be in one spot at the same time which doesn’t happen very often. We discuss all the curriculum that is involved as well as answer any questions that anyone might have.
During the meeting the black belt candidates will be required to pick a mentor to whom will look after them during their training. The mentor is available to keep track of the candidate’s progression, to make sure they are staying on task, give them help with anything they may be struggling with, and so on. The mentors and all the candidates are a team per say and they work hard individually but also as a whole to help each other succeed. Everyone is here for one another. It makes the journey to black belt just a little extra special.
Now during the training cycle the candidates have many requirements that they are required to complete. Some are required to be completed sooner whereas others take a bit longer. Some of the requirements are completing; a certain amount of push, squats, and sit ups, so many hours of cardio training, so many repetitions of their six main kicks, so many repetitions of their patterns/forms, so many rounds of sparring, a few written papers/essays, a community project, journey to black belt poster, a few optional projects, and a few other things.
The black belt journey is designed to test a candidate mentally and physically. Some of the tasks required are designed for mental and personal growth. To really make you think beyond the punching and kicking. What are we really learning here? Other tasks are testing a candidate physically. Challenging them to improve their physical fitness and their skills. Again what are they learning about the physical challenges and skills that goes beyond the physical? What is really being taught and learned?
Truly being focused and dedicated to the journey allows one to really reap the benefits and pleasures of what they are doing. It is a pleasure to see students from young children up to older middle age adult grow throughout their journeys and achieve their black belts and beyond if they tough it out. It’s definitely a life changing experience for most. For the ones that truly get what we all are trying to achieve.
Master Jonathan Field