Imagine you were attending Harvard Law. You wouldn’t be humming and hawing from midterm to midterm, whether or not you were going to follow through to get your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
Getting to Black Belt is no different. You begin with the end in mind. People start kung fu because they want to be confident, focused, and disciplined. They want to be physically and mentally fit. As soon as you start seeing progress, now you decide if you want to continue to reap those benefits for yourself or for your child, and if you want those changes to become permanent. Anyone would agree that it is foolish to believe that permanent positive change can come from only a couple months of practice. Quick fix simply doesn’t work for character building;
Real, life-long change takes long-term commitment and a clear, challenging goal. Once a person, adult or child,
has committed himself or herself to the pursuit of Black, it changes the mind, leaving a new electrical pathway in the brain. Commitment is not a one-time thing, either. Each time a student decides to leave the comfy couch or venture into the harsh winter storm to attend their class, they have recommitted themselves to their goal. Each decision to carry on when it gets hard actually deepens and strengthens those pathways in the mind. That is how self discipline is formed.
Parents can create this pathway in the mind for their children, but only if the parent is committed to Black Belt for their child. Children and teens do not have fully developed brains, and have a very hard time thinking about 1, 3, 5, 10 years from now. It is the parent’s solemn duty to extend and lend their discipline to their child. As a result, the child’s self esteem and self discipline will blossom and they will start to make good choices on their own.
When children are repeatedly allowed to abandon their responsibilities and commitments, it has actually has negative consequences for the child, such as anxiety and lowered self esteem. It is actually no different for an adult in the same situation.
People on the outside of martial arts tend to see the tip of the ice burg, meaning, they think it’s the height of your kick, or the shock power of your punch that matters most. But anyone who’s ever actually succeeded in martial arts (or any field for that matter) knows, without a doubt, that skill is the byproduct. it’s about perseverance and sacrifice; about the time put in, and the habits established; about the deep change that takes place in the mind when you earn each belt, all the way to Black and beyond.
There are really only two options when it comes to kung fu. Either you will entertain yourself for a little while, and then have a story of how you used to train and why you never achieved your Black Belt or the results you wanted. Or you commit yourself to your goal, and you keep reaping the numerous benefits of training to be a Black Belt or Black Sash.