Wednesday, 4 June 2008

From Brown Belt to Black Belt

Everyone who trains in an art that uses the belt system at some point in time puts all his/her focus towards gaining there Dan grade (black belt). There will always be this fascination towards it as most seem to think that it is an achievement.

While it is, and someone who has gained there black belt should be proud of there achievement, only once you earn it do you realise that it is just a belt like any other and it does not make you the expert fighter you thought it would. But does any other belt push you to achieve greater ability? In my experience, the brown belt does and is more beneficial than the black.

When I achieved my brown belt, it was like seeing light at the end of the tunnel. After years of training to earn it, which included long runs home from work late at night, many hours of solo training, millions of pushups and crunches and countless whacks during sparring, I could see that it finally was paying off and I was one belt away from achieving my goal at that time.

Having this thought in mind gave me great inspiration and determination to boost my training and go all out every workout, and for the year and a half or so it took from my brown belt to my black, that is what I did.

It was during this period where I feel I started to develop my own way of fighting specifically suited for my body type and natural abilities, breaking slightly away from trying to mimic the exact movements of my teacher, or other higher ranked martial artists in my school.

Once I achieved my Dan grade, for a few months, I slackened off slightly, thinking that I was at the top of the mountain, not training half as hard as I did when was on brown belt level. It didn’t take me soon to realise via some harder sparring that I had just started my “real” training and that everything prior was kind of a warm up.

Eventually every martial artist should go through this same process. No two fighters are the same. A person can only perform his best, according to his/her own abilities. Trying to work yourself around someone else’s way of doing things will only result in you never being able to feel comfortable in your fighting style, whichever it is and no matter when it happens during your training years, you must realise what YOU can do, and start adapting your way of fighting around that.

For me it was the hard training during my brown belt stage and for this reason it was the most important belt for ME. For others it may me different and I wish you good luck in your process of trying to better yourselves as martial artists.


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Michele said...

Nice post.

I always tell the students to enjoy their time as a brown belt. This is a time of preparation and training. My time as a brown belt was the foundation for the black belt I became.

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