Today, I asked one of our recent black belts to tell me what having a black belt means to him. Mr. Chipperfield and I discussed where one goes after black belt and how he feels know that he has had some time to settle into his new belt. Below is what he said:
So many achievements in our lives are cast as a means to an end. We get our college diplomas as a gateway to a good job. We get advanced degrees or professional certification to climb the corporate ladder.
Attaining a black belt, to me, is an end unto itself. I do not expect to use my new skills to take on bad guys on the mean streets of Baltimore. I hold no illusions that I will be the next Steven Segal, brash movie action hero.
Black belt means that I can set a fairly high personal goal, and achieve that goal, not as a path to material gain, but simply for self fulfillment. I have proven to myself, that even being just shy of 50, “I’ve still got it”. The “fire in the belly” I had when I wore a younger man’s clothes is still there. As long as I can keep that flame burning brightly, I will still have purpose, still have the will to grow.