Wednesday, November 05, 2008
This year your life will change, for the better.
This year you will have more influence with your students –and in your community –than you have ever enjoyed before.
This year you will save someone’s life.
This year you will simplify –so that your life isn’t ruled by things, by name brands, by the desire to shop, own, acquire, and consume; this year you will, as if you died and then had a second chance to live again, begin to appreciate what is genuinely important about living.
This year you will shed the pain you have been carrying.
This year you will step-up in an extraordinary way to bring peace, compassion, empathy, and wisdom to the world. You may not change things for the better single-handedly, but you will do your part to the best of your ability.
This year you will be part of a large group of people who are seeking to make being a “black belt” and/or a “master instructor” MEAN SOMETHING important, something vital, something heavy with integrity, purpose, and mission.
This year you will transform yourself into the person you want to be –and you will do it one day at a time.
This year you will be in the here and now –as often as you can be aware of, as often as you can pinch yourself to remember, as often as is humanly possible.
This year you will stop eating abundant amounts of sugar and processed food; you will be more aware of the connection between what you consume and how you think and feel.
This year you will forgive all trespasses. You will let go of all hate, misunderstandings, and grievances. This year, you will forgive and forget.
This year you will change your school’s curriculum to reflect wisdom, vision, and your mission as a human being; this year you will begin to teach the most important mental, emotional, and spiritual ideas –transcending the standard fare of the martial arts.
This year, whether you make more money –or less, you will live with a sense of joy, with a sense of “I am here for a reason –and it is to serve others,” and each morning you will awake, take a deep breath, say your prayers of thanks, and begin your day with a sense of purpose far and beyond simply “making a profit.”
This year you will practice being a true “master.”
Every year I invite a group of martial arts teachers, school owners, and students to join me in a project called The Ultimate Black Belt Test (UBBT). The UBBT is about living as a martial artist –but in a new way, a way that reflects something more than the kicks and punches of the martial arts; a way that transcends the “phone call,” the “intro,” the “black belt club,” and the profit and loss statement; a way that suggests the rank of “black belt” is meant to be something more than an incentive to pay for a course, something more than a piece of cloth and a certificate.
In the UBBT we seek to come together as a team, regardless of age, rank, style or system, and do, together, what would be impossible for any one of us to do individually. We’re working on changing and improving the entire martial arts world. We’re bringing new methods, new meaning, and a sense of mission to the martial arts that expresses our potential as human beings.
While people are capable of amazing things, they all too often do nothing, nothing at all about making a difference in the world. They sit back and watch, they sit idle and do as little as possible, self-absorbed - somehow justifying their inactivity.
In the UBBT we seek to BE AND DO something that reflects the best of what we are capable of. It’s not easy, but we must begin somewhere. By BEING "that kind of black belt" --we hope to leave a trail for others to follow.
We predict the martial arts of the future will be a richer, more interesting, more meaningful activity --and that someday "being a black belt" will carry with it a sense of responsibility that reflects those things that are best about the world --and about life. Real self-defense is recognizing our connectivity -and showing a deep respect and appreciation for self and others. Someday, black belts will not only be fine examples of the physical skills taught in their various styles, they will also be roles models of the best of the best of humanity.
This year I invite you to be a black belt, to be a martial artist in an all new light.
Posted by From the Desk of Tom Callos at 6:23 AM