From White Belt to Black belt

From White Belt to Black belt

In Taekwondo as well as most style of Martial Arts you will find white belts, black belts, various colours of colour belts, and various degrees of black belt as well as various degrees of certain ranks of colour. But what do they all mean?

Various styles of different orders of colure which you earn along your way to black belt and beyond. Some styles go white belt, yellow belt, and so forth. Other styles go white belt, red belt, yellow belt, and so forth. Others use red belts as higher than black belts. Some use stripes on their belts. Some use different colure such as purple and brown where others don’t.

Some systems will go into detail about how each belt represents certain things in nature or human nature. Some will be described as the learning process in which you go through as person. Some styles use ranks to show nothing other than progression of skill and knowledge. Some systems the ranks are meaningless.

It would be hard press to find two styles that can come together and completely agree with what the belts mean and what it takes to earn each belt. This is because there is so many different unique view points on the subject. And that is okay. That is actually a good thing. The more view points the more one can learn.

Ultimately the different ranks means that you have learned new skills per belt level and meet the minimum requirements to progress to the next level. They are mini goals towards black belt and beyond. You can view them as a metaphor for life. Always learning something new. Always challenging yourself to be better. Always improving. Always setting goals and achieving them. Stepping stones in life.

And black belt is not the ultimate goal. Going beyond black belt is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is striving to be better than you were yesterday. Taekwondo is one path to self excellence through hard work and dedication.

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do


If I held up a white belt in my hand and asked you what colour that this belt was, you’d probably say white.

Then if I held up a black belt in my other hand and asked you what colour it was, you’d probably say black.

Am I right so far?

But what if I said that the white was actually black and the black was actually white? What would you think?

You would probably be wondering what I was getting at right?

Well here it goes.

I see the white belt as a potential black belt. Everyone who earns a white belt is capable of earning a black belt some day. As long as they are willing to put in all the hard work and show the integrity and respect one needs in order to achieve a black belt.

I see the black belt as a white belt that never gave up. They persevered through all the training. They made sacrifices. They went through times of being uncomfortable but got through it. They learned and grew. They accomplish something that few actually get to do. They didn’t give up on themselves.

White, Black, or any other colour doesn’t really matter. What matters is the journey and the path you choose and what you learn from it. What experiences did you have. Who are the people that were along side you.

Being a black belt is to realize that you are just a white belt that is still on the journey to bettering yourself and hopefully the people around you. But you are only a black belt if you remain a white belt.

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do


10404419_10153207480772000_4020232407628815716_nA Black Belt should know how to fight, but be equally skilled at avoiding one. If not, more so….

Yes having a Black Belt in martial arts teaches you how to fight and defend yourself however a good black belt also knows how to avoid getting into fights if they can.

A good black belt also know and practices courtesy, loyalty, integrity, perseverance, self control, passion, empathy, compassion, generosity, love, inspiration, motivation, and so on and so forth.

Good black belts practice the life skills that not only improves their lives but also the lives of those around them.

To some this comes naturally, to others it must be taught. But for everyone it must be a daily practice of these good habits.

Strictly knowing how to fight and using those skills incorrectly does not make a person a black belt. They may have received one but are not one.

Black Belt is a state of being, not what is wrapped around your waist.

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do


  • Good Morning

    So yesterday I posted a question of what does a black belt mean to you? I got a few well thought out replies and here are a few of them. All very well written.

    What does a Black Belt mean to me? Well it means that all the committment I put in from the day I started as a White Belt up and until Black Belt grading day. All the hard work and goals I met were definately worth it especially when I was presented with and tied it around my waste. It may me very proud to know I have achieved something not a lot of people have. So in saying that it means a lot to me to become a Black Belt knowing all the hard work I put into the journey was well worth it and showed me I can do whatever I put my mind to.

Without sound too corney………..When I started kick boxing many years ago I would watch the TKD class and always thought it might be fun to try it. So….I tried it, liked it and then I started wondering if were possible to get by black belt one day. I was sure I would never attain that goal. Then………..Voila. For myself it means I achieved a goal and every time I wear it it is with a sense of pride. it also represents a lot of friends made along the way

There is no real correct answer per say unless someone thought it was about all the wrong reasons but for most people this is not the case.

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do


Good Morning

I have a question for everyone who has earned a black belt, is currently training for a black belt, or anyone in general.

What does a black belt mean to you?

Please leave your thoughts and comments below. I am genuinely curious to see what some of the answers will be.

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do



One of my martial arts buddies, Tom Callos filmed this video a few years ago and I like to share it every year with the black belt candidates. I hope this inspires them and their training and journey. I hope it also inspires though who will be grading for their black belts in the next few years as well.

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do


Good Morning

Well we had the 2016 Black Belt Midterm Evaluations yesterday morning from 9am to 12pm. It went quite well. The 2016 candidates are looking good and this year’s black belt grading should be a good one. Lots of hard work goes into earning a black belt here at Cobourg Tae Kwon Do. Lots of training in preparation for the actual grading day. Lots of assignments that must be completed throughout the black belt cycle. Team building day which the candidates work on their team and communication skills. Being mentored by other black belt mentors and instructors. Everything that they are tested on on the day of grading. The feelings during the aftermath. The black belt ceremony which their friends and family come to watch them put on a demonstration of their skills. Finally being able to wrap those new black belts around their waist.

For those who can make it through the process are glad they did. I offered them yesterday $10,000 if I could take back their black belts and all the experiences and friends they have made along the journey. Not one of them took me up on that offer. Actually I could offer a $100,000 or even $1,000,000 and I know they would not take the offer. Earning your black belt is something special that goes beyond the description of words. It is not something you are given or something you can buy. You have to earn it with sweat, blood, tears, pain, but also with joy, happiness, excitement, and the knowing that this is only the beginning.

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do



Who here reading this blog has a cup of coffee on their way to work in the morning? Or perhaps a few cups to several cups of coffee every day from your favourite coffee stop or shop?

Do you realize that a few lower end cost coffees a day is probably setting you back about $3-$4 daily at a minimum? That is about $90-$120 minimum per month of coffee.

Now if you are a smoker and you smoke one half pack of cigarettes a day, that would cost you around $6. Over a month you would be spending around $180 a month.

Now I am not saying either one of these is good or bad for you. Just pointing out the cost of what you are spending so when you say I cannot afford this or I can’t afford that, you can see where some of your money goes that you probably do not think of.

Now let’s say that you wanted to do something good for yourself like taking a Taekwondo or Martial Arts class for example. If you are able to spend money on coffee or cigarettes each month then you are able to afford something that would truly add some value to your life.

Or you could also spend that money on eating healthier foods and getting rid of the crap foods you do not need.

I see it like this. Money is energy since we can not own it. Energy comes to us and it goes. We can choose how we spend some of this energy. So we can choose not to put energy in one area of our life and put it into the other areas that would be good for us.

I may be a little biased here however I do believe two of the best things you can do is eat healthy and do / join a martial arts program like taekwondo because of the fitness, health, self defense, learning, and confidence building aspects. Anyone can do it and you can’t hardly afford not to do it.

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do



Sparring is like playing a game of chess except you and your opponent/partner are the chess pieces and the dojang mats is your chess board. In chess you basically use different pieces which all have different moves that they are allowed to do to take out your opponent’s pieces through the use of strategy. You try to stay a few moves ahead of your opponent and try to predict what they will do when you this a certain move so you can counter them and take their piece of the board.

Sparring is the same way. You use the mats as a big game board where you move in various directions trying to set up various strikes on your partner/opponent. You execute certain moves to invoke a desired reaction so you can utilize your desired techniques that you are trying to set up. Of course your partner/opponent is also trying to do the same thing. So many moves get cancelled out so you move onto the next strategy or combination to try and score points.

It’s all just one big game of trying to out score your partner/opponent. How can you out think them. How can you get done what you want to get done. How can you entrap the other person so you have them right where you want them. Learning to make them move they way you want them to move so you can easily set them up for an attack or counter attack. Being able to think ahead three or four moves and predict various outcomes based on what the other person does. Getting into the flow state where you are merely allowing the techniques to do all the work and you are merely a passenger on an awesome right. Your mind and body acting as if they don’t need you present because they just doing everything right.

Of course, just like chest, sparring takes a lot of practice. You simply just have to do it and allow the process of learning to take place. You can apply extra study. You can really focus on what is really happening. You can ask a lot of questions and do a lot of reading on the topic. This all aids in learning a little faster but the best experience to get better is just getting out there and doing it.

There will be times when you feel you won and other times where you feel you lost. The one true thing is that you never really lose if you keep trying. If you keep focusing on getting better each time. Losing is not really losing. It’s another way for you to learn. And when you learn, you win!

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do



samurai wisdom“The approach to combat and everyday life should be the same.”

Well what does that mean?

Should one go around killing and attacking people? Or carry you carry around weapons and be prepared to attack and defend at any given moment?

Well most likely not as we do life in one of the safer times in human history.

No, what this means is that you should approach life how an ancient warrior did.

They approached life with focus, discipline, strategy, and a purpose.

Everything that was meaningful was approached with focus on every moment and every task.

They were disciplined to get done what needed to be accomplished.

They use strategy to create the best outcomes that they wanted.

Every thought and action had a specific purpose.

All of this allowed the ancient warriors to live a fulfilled life through hard work but they also reaped the benefits of a fun and relaxed life when everything else was taken care of.

Master Jonathan Field

Cobourg Tae Kwon Do