|My dobok and belt.|
This is a question that every martial arts student ponders from the first time they tie on their new white belt.
For me, it was something I thought about constantly. I studied the black belts who were my instructors, and the ones I would see at rank exams and combined training events. You see a lot as a student, when you are wide-eyed and eager in your first year of training. You tend to put everyone on a pedistool, and see them as larger than life. But, in reality, black belts of Chayon-Ryu are for the most part, reasonably humble people.
A position of responsibility vs. a position of power:
|Chayon-Ryu Outdoor Training in the park held twice a year.|
|Black Belts who volunteer to judge rank contests pose with|
students who tested for rank.
Even in the humble act of cleaning the floor there is wisdom to be gained, and a feeling of accomplishment. I think of a Native American saying, "leave the earth better than you find it." This ideal is present within me when I help clean, sweep and organize the dojang before and after class. The space is there for us to use to increase our skills, knowledge and enrich our lives. Keeping it clean and orderly is a show of respect for the space, and the people who have come before us, as well as an example to those who follow us.
We have to be mindful of who is behind us, because they will be watching and studying us, just as I studied the black belts who stood in front of me.
Recently I received my rank certificate, even though I had my belt for some time. The certificate is the official recognition of rank in martial arts. Seeing it framed on my wall prompted me to think about my role as a black belt.