Joining a Black Belt School: What to Expect out of a Karate Education

Martial arts is all about learning blocks, counters, punches, holds and kicks, right? The answer is yes, but it’s only the beginning. The goal of becoming a Black Belt is the goal of becoming a better human being. A martial arts education gives you the tools and a pathway to accomplish that.

All three Ripple Effect Martial Arts schools have these words stenciled boldly above the mats:

We are a Black Belt School

What does this mean? What’s expected of students who belong to this exclusive school? Why do we call the karate schools “schools” at all?

Martial arts training centers go by many names. The words “dojo” (Japanese) and “dojang” (Korean) literally mean “place of the way,” and this is representative of the breadth of education delivered in these halls. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training centers are often called “academies,” which again denotes a place of very specialized preparation.

Just like traditional education, parents want the best martial arts school for their kids. So you ask the same kinds of questions: What curriculum do they follow? Does the school teach leadership skills and philosophy along with academics? How educated are the teachers themselves? And maybe most importantly: What percentage of the school’s students graduate, and what have their graduates done? 

The top 1% of martial arts schools build a team and program around these concepts. Ripple Effect Martial Arts employs a martial arts curriculum that traces its lineage to the late Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, one of the most respected martial artists and teachers the modern world has ever known. Through various programs (leadership book reviews, mat chats, requirements for volunteer and community service, worksheets and newsletters that explore concepts like gratitude, courage and humility), we teach students about history, how to help others, and the power of martial arts to create a more promising future.

That kind of well-rounded education is what we believe Black Belts should have, and it’s why we call Ripple Effect Martial Arts a Black Belt school. So to get back to the starting question: What do we expect of all our new white belt students? That you’ll make it to Black Belt. As a Ripple Effect student (or a parent of one), you can expect it, too.

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