What It Means to Be A Black Belt at the Beverly Hills Martial Arts Center
As a Black Belt at the Beverly Hills Martial Arts Center you have 3 roles:
Each role is comprised of active and passive traits. When in harmony, each role is respected and relied upon, and you complete the Yin and Yang circle for each.
In the following sections are detailed explanations of the leadership, teaching and students roles which a black belt student has at the Center.
A Message for our Black Belts
As you achieved your belts, you demonstrated your basic knowledge of the martial art movements and forms. Now your goal as a black belt is to relearn them.
This time do not compartmentalize your learning and understanding. Do not rely on spoken words to understand how to perform movements. Words are not movements. They are only descriptions of the movements in the same way that a map describes a territory and is not the territory itself. Nor should you mistake your thoughts as the true guide. They too are inadequate tools because they rely upon words, past experiences, assumptions and beliefs for understanding. Finally, do not rely exclusively on your senses for the senses, acting alone, are limited and inaccurate.
To perform movements and techniques, release who and what you think you are and what you think you can or cannot accomplish. With this freedom, move with your ‘whole being’ both the seen (physical body) and unseen (your energy.) When you do this, the movements will not be something that you do. They will be something you are.
The foundation of The Beverly Hills Martial Arts Center was built with these materials:
action in the face of fear
Place side by side these buildings blocks create a harmonious environment. Teach with them and the energy created expands the construction in infinite proportions. Teach without or contrary to them and you destroy its foundation.
This is not to say that even when you teach with all these elements, things will always go smoothly. Many times they will not. Teaching is difficult. You will often meet with student resistance. Students will fail to follow because their mind or feelings reel with frustration, lack of inspiration or lethargy. Do not look at such times with despair for they provide an opportunity to strengthen your teaching abilities. In those moments take a deep breath to clear your mind. Then continue.
As a black belt you occupy a special place of well-earned honor at the Center. With this honor comes great responsibility. You will be looked upon as a leader by the other junior students and by the instructors. You must always act accordingly.
The following are important characteristics of a leader.
Discipline A mind and body in chaos struggles to survive in society. Keep your mind and body disciplined, and the whole world is open for you to explore.
Conduct The pledges you have learned are no longer for you just to follow. You are now the teacher of them. Lead by example. For without action, the pledges are empty vessels.
Inspire Do and be your best always – especially when you are weary. Your actions will inspire others to do the same.
Respect Mutual respect between those who lead and those who follow is the cornerstone of true leadership. Leadership built on cruelty or condescension quickly crumbles in the face of opposition.
Teacher Every person is your teacher in some way. Be open to their teaching and your leadership will become stronger.
Compassion Students learn at different speeds and have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Use compassion for such difference to strengthen the strengths and less the weaknesses.