Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Lesson in Black Belt Testing

Team members, current and alumni; please allow me to remind/inform you of some of my beliefs/thoughts about our relationship and this “project.”

1. The black belt test is a sacred experience, but only if you treat it as such.

In my mind, when I say “black belt test” –it is a call to rise, it is to be treated with the utmost respect, it is a call to action. A black belt test is your own personal “Olympics” –and it calls you to train, to prepare, to rise to the occasion, and to evolve as an athlete and a person.

Do YOU have another event/thing in your life that asks so much of you? Perhaps you hear this call with parenting and/or with your significant other or with your career?

BUT, being that this is our life’s work, we would do well to hold the black belt test and the preparation for testing in the most sacred of places.

2. When it comes to your black belt test, require nothing. Nobody has to remind you

Nobody has to wake you for training. No event, no obstacle, no injury, no bout of depression keeps you from preparing for the event.

You might miss a wedding, you might forget a birthday or an anniversary, but your training is who you are and how you work on yourself.

It’s your air, your survival mechanism; it is the outward manifestation of wh
o you really are on the inside –and who you aspire to be. In your mind you hear the call to your test like an ever-present ringing in the ears.

You don’t sit at the dinner table, you don’t lift your feet into bed, you don’t breath, drink, stretch, or move without an acute awareness that you are testing for your black belt.

Very few people on this planet are bound by the code that you are. Very few people know how to apply themselves the way you are training yourself to do. Very few people treat their black belt test with the respect and reverence that you do –and this, my friends, is how you hone what it is you have given your life for.

3. You are part of a team. You may be a part of many teams, and some of them are very important to you, but in this endeavor you must cultivate an awareness of “team” in a way that warrants the most extraordinary care.

The fabric of the UBBT is woven on something intan

It is a recognition of our place in history –it is an understanding that collectively we stand to influence and change and improve the processes, the outcome, the culture, the direction, and the essence of “what is the martial arts.”

I am sitting at a table on my deck on The Big Island –and you are reading this in your own home or office –but we could just as easily be sitting next to each other.

This is the nature of the internet –and of a kind of connection, facilitated by our communication, that ignores distance and time differences.

Someday in the future I will be gone –and this body of work will be what I made of my life. This work will be what I did, what I worked on, and how I made my way. I might be remembered, for a time, as a very dedicated martial arts practitioner and teacher.

This is it.

This work, these messages, the call to treat our “test” and each other with a rare sort of respect, these ideas ---of peace, kindness, activism, environmentalism, anger management, leadership, purpose, intent, and mission ---this is what I/we will leave behind.

NOW is the time to recognize the opportunity we have to make change. We are not like Charles Barkley, who I heard declared he “was not a role model.” We are treating our position with the understanding that we are role models –and we are acting as if what we do –and how we go about it –will influence the quality of life in a million people who follow us.

All of this affects the solemnity of how I expect you to treat our relationship. TO treat it any other way would be far, far from “the ultimate.”

By treating our "black belt test" with this kind of respect, we make "being" a black belt something

No comments: