Tuesday, June 26, 2007

About Your Black Belt Test and School

To the Teams:

Good afternoon! I’m going to write you, now, about YOUR black belt test. I’m going to write you about YOUR schoolwhat you teach and what you “sell.”

You might like what I write –and you might not, nevertheless, as coach to the team, I am compelled to “coach.”

Note this, first, before I begin: There isn’t a single issue in the UBBT that you won’t face in your own school with your own students. The primary difference between what we are doing here –and what you do in your school…is you.

You are the teacher, a leader, the head person, and some of you even use the title “Master.” You are not one of your students; you are the person who points the way. You impart the education, you set the example, and you lead. You are supposed to have the answers –and if not all of “them” –then specifically the ones that pertain to learning the martial arts.

If most of your students can perform at “level 10” –it is most likely because you have shown them “level 20.” You are not governed by the same rules, nor are you expected to fall victim to the same challenges that keep your students from excelling.

In my eyes you are not to be compared to your students, you aren’t to be held to the same standards. No, your standards are different, better-than, higher –you are a champion, an Olympian, an elite teacher, a leader of people. Your standards, how you deal with difficult situations, how you skirt defeat, how you find the way to succeed –these things set you apart, give you real value, and these are, in essence, the things people really want to learn from you.

Your Black Belt Test

Have you heard of this expression: “We are a Black Belt School”? Do you use that to describe your own school? Well, tell me, what does that mean? Does it mean that “black belt” is a standard? Does the concept mean that being a black belt is a good thing?

If it’s a good thing, what exactly is good about it?

Can you make and take a test that proves it? Do you live your life as a black belt? If so, then what does that mean? Is it found in the way you eat? In the way you interact with others? In your reading list? In your “projects”? In your consumption? Is it just a physical thing? Or have you spent your life developing an outlook and problem solving skills that are indicative of your training and rank? Or are you just like everyone else?

The Ultimate Black Belt Test is just one more opportunity for you to challenge yourself –to PRACTICE being who you aspire to be. Your life, the next minute, hour, and day ---these are all just one more opportunity to live like a master, to teach like a master, to BE in the practice of mastery.

What is martial arts mastery? YOU determine this. Set your sights low –and there you are. Set your sights high, hero-high, and THERE you are.

Hey, I have an IDEA:
Let me tell you what I’m going to do to contribute to your personal growth and development (isn’t it nice to have help sometimes?): I’m going to make a process…I’ll call it “The Ultimate Black Belt Test” (after all, the term “black belt”, as I understand it, is a universally accepted mark of skill and excellence) and I will challenge you to participate in a program where you get to SHOW THE WORLD what you’re made of. I’ll present you with a bunch of challenges, some of them nearly impossible to do, and then I’ll step back and let you run the show.

It’ll be the perfect opportunity for you to show us what skills you have, how you overcome conflict and problems. Why, you’ll be able to prove to people, especially your students, exactly why you are deserving of respect and why you are “the leader.”

I’ll work as your “PR” man –I’ll start telling the world about your test –and you get to show them the rest. Each week you can write a chapter in the “book” about your journey. Your students can get some insight into the complex and enigmatic world of a top “black belt” teacher –and imagine what you will learn from each other as you bond with like-minded people who are willing to undertake such an adventure. Wow.

Maybe, through this process, you will show your community exactly what you teach and sell! There will be no doubt in their minds! You’ll prove to them how powerful the martial arts can be! That power for transformation and growth!

What a gift! All you have to do is walk the talk of the martial arts!

Each day you wake up –and you get to start again! You’ll get in the best shape of your life, you’ll do all sorts of new things, and best of all, you will challenge yourself in ways that most people wouldn’t even dream of doing. You’ll be an “action hero” to hundred if not thousands of people(or not).

How cool is that!

Tom Callos

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