The Black Belt Myth (What They Never Told You About Being a Black Belt)

For years, you’ve been told a lie.

An ugly, dirty lie.

Indoctrinated by people you trusted, with the implicit purpose of “protecting you from reality”, you’ve been secretly brainwashed since you first discovered martial arts.

Why?

The short answer:

Because a convenient lie is safer than an inconvenient truth.

The long answer:

Because if you knew the truth, the whole truth, you’d probably never have started martial arts to begin with – and you’d most likely not be reading this paragraph.

I know…

Mind-blowing, right?

Let me explain:

The Black Belt Myth

They wanted you to believe it.

They really did.

And for the most part, they actually succeeded.

  • Books.
  • Movies.
  • TV shows.
  • Magazines.
  • Advertisement.

The list goes on.

Everywhere you looked, you were made to believe that the highest achivement, the ultimate sophistication of traditional Karate, was to get the legendary black belt.

A belt – so black, it defies both time and space.

The image of that dark, mysterious and exotic belt – flawlessly tied around the six-pack abs of a fearless fighter – was projected at you day and night, by everyone around you.

That fighter?

It could be YOU.

That fearlessness?

It could be YOURS.

(Those abs too.)

Just get the black belt, and everything would be perfect.

Well…

At least that’s what they wanted you to believe…

Until you realized the following:

No matter how many times you watched The Karate Kid, Kwai Chang Caine or Ninja Turtles, the ancient cornerstone principles upon which Karate rested would NEVER have anything to do with a piece of black cloth hanging around your waist.

Never.

The black belt was a lie.

A myth.

A fairytale, based on a fundamentally flawed fact.

You see, the day after you got your black belt, when all the partying and hoopla stopped, you undoubtedly came to a pretty disturbing realization:

Nothing changes.

Let me repeat that.

Nothing.

Changes.

Sure, you probably have a few more bruises. Maybe even a black eye, or a sore rib. And your wallet is probably a bit slimmer, from that hefty grading fee you had to pay.

But you’re still the Exact Same Dude.

  • You still forget tiny details in kata.
  • You still make “stupid” mistakes in kihon.
  • You still get your ass kicked in kumite.

And yes…

You still have trouble with self-confidence, motivation or injuries.

Just like the day before – when you didn’t have your black belt yet.

What a…

Relief!

Now you can finally stop focusing on “that belt”.

And start focusing on yourself.

Because a black belt is not the end.

It never was.

It is the very beginning.

That’s why it’s called sho-dan in Japanese (lit. “first-level”).

worn-out-black-belt

So…

Once you understand this fact, which has been kept hidden from you for way too long, you’re finally free to pursue Karate for its true and most important purpose:

A vehicle for discovering and developing the human potential.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities.
In the expert’s mind, there are few.”

~ Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971)

And that’s the dirty secret of being a black belt.

Black is the new white.




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