To me, a black belt means so many things. It means that you know how to defend yourself in a dangerous situation. It means you’re stronger than you think. To me, it’s like a door to a brand-new library that just opened in town. But you can’t just be handed the black belt. You must show strength, endurance, self-discipline, and so many more things.

A black belt is so important because if you were in a risky situation, you’d have a few tricks up your sleeves to show whoever is attacking you. For example, if you were walking alone on the streets (which I don’t recommend) and someone came hurling at you with a punch, kick, club, chop etc., the knowledge that’s been embedded in you brain by the many classes that you’ve taken will act and get you out of that situation as safely and quickly as possible. All those sparring classes can also come in handy here in case of a street fight. I also think the 2 vs. 1 matches I did in sparring might be useful out there.

I think that if you went to your black belt test and passed it, it means you’re strong. The judges probably wouldn’t have given you that black belt if you hadn’t shown endurance, incredible strength, grit, self-discipline, and so much more! On the wall of Amerikick, it has painted “Black Belt Excellence.” Which I think is exactly what the black belt test is all about. Show you excellence, show what you’re capable of and that black belt is all yours.

Most people that I know that have a black belt in karate stop once they get their black belt. But I don’t get it because looking at all my sensei’s belts and their levels, I can tell there’s a lot more to learn. Starting with junior, senior, then first, second, and third-degree black belts. Even I don’t know what comes after that, but I know that I’m going to find out. So many more techniques to learn for attacks I didn’t even think about. If someone cam up to you out on the streets or in a sketchy alley and attacked you in a way you didn’t know how to defend yourself in, what’s the point of the black belt? If you stayed and continued to fill you brain with useful information, it’ll really pay off.

The black belt test is essential to prove yourself worthy of the black belt. And the black belt, once you get it, means a lot too. To me, it means that you really tried. You stuck around and devoted time to learn all the katas, techniques, tips, and tricks. And it makes the test a little easier too. And you sparring classes as well. It also means that you can learn more complex techniques and moves. You move to another level. You can’t give up, and sometimes, that’s hard.