In a recent podcast with “Master Mom,” (aka Master Amanda Olson of Olson’s Martial Arts Academy in Johnson City, Tennessee), she noted that in more than 20 years of martial arts instruction, she’s had many students fail their black belt test. She also said every student who failed the first time returned to test again. And succeeded.
This puts a spotlight on results and the relationship between failing to achieve a goal, then finally succeeding. It’s an amazing thought for parents and kids who embarked on this amazing “activity” three to four years ago, and are now on the verge of a black belt test.
To put the accomplishment of earning a black belt in perspective: Can you imagine starting high school but not earning your degree?
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the overall high school dropout rate in the U.S. decreased from 9.7 percent in 2006 to 5.3 percent in 2018. That’s great news—the higher percentage of kids who complete high school leads to all the benefits of a high school diploma: better jobs, better pay, higher enrollment in college, and greater possibilities for independence and self-reliance later in life.
When you make the metaphorical jump to a martial art, especially as a kid entering into your first black belt test, it pays to make the connection: What would life be like if I had quit as a brown belt? A purple belt? A white belt? Where would I be now? What would lie ahead?
Martial arts is a lifelong pursuit. For some it’s a career. But the goal of earning a black belt is crucial for anyone’s progress to new levels and opportunities in life. Black belt is the result of four years training, but it’s also just the beginning.
Best wishes to all those testing this weekend! Black belts never quit!