Black Belt Prep: How Martial Arts Tests and Trains You for Life

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Black Belt Prep: How Martial Arts Tests and Trains You for Life

Students in karate uniforms do hundreds of push ups at Black Belt test

You’ve heard of Boot Camp, right? (The Army version, not the trademarked workout routine.) Recruits go through a kind of hell (the Navy SEALs’ version is called, appropriately, “Hell Week”) to test their bodies, wit and willpower before they’re sent off to base or the battlefield. The military knows that that hardcore prep is essential to capable performance under pressure. 

Young woman throws punches at a black belt testFor Black Belts in training, Prep Cycle is an extended Boot Camp. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting into with the Black Belt tests (and you don’t know exactly what you’re getting into with Prep Cycle, either). But your instructors want you to be prepared, to be ready to perform at your best even when everyone’s fist is in your face.

Why? You might ask. Or: Why on earth would I sign up for this? If Prep Cycle is tough enough to prepare me for a test that’s even tougher…. Why not skip the whole mess and chill out instead?

The big reason is that it’s all training. It gets you ready. For what? For life.

Consider this. The Windsor Fire Department in northern Colorado accepts an average of 1 (one) out of 500 applicants for a volunteer position.

A fire fighter in helmet, coat, and oxygen mask tightens his belt.

A Windsor, Colorado fire fighter suits up for service.

That’s a 1 in 500 chance to be a volunteer with the fire department, to enter into a months-long, unpaid apprenticeship to:

  1. Check and pack axes, oxygen tanks and other essential gear;
  2. Keep uniforms neat, clean and organized (even after they’re choked with sweat and soot);
  3. Maintain tight schedules and coordinate with dozens of co-workers and teammates;
  4. Be ready to wake as if to a scorpion’s sting after just a few hours sleep, race out to the scene, and (not to mention), potentially rush into raging danger.
  5. Learn to be a leader, setting an example of courage, integrity and cooperation.

You could wonder why anyone would volunteer for such service. But hundreds do, and there are only a few spots. It’s about honor, service–not money. And you’ve got to have the skills, the passion, the resolve to take it all on.

Prep cyclers have similar requirements. Be on time. Pack and organize all your weapons. Keep your uniform clean, even after sweating through its fibers, for hours every day. Study. Work yourself to the bone.

Hence the name. Prep Cycle. Preparation. For the test. For life.

Karate students huddle together to cheer each other on at a Black Belt test.

Black Belt testers huddle up.

Please come out to the Embassy Suites in Loveland this weekend to cheer on the karate students who have been prepping for their first, second or third big test. You’ll see lives in the making. 

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