“Well, techniques can be packed up and taken anywhere. Not so with dedication.”
– Sensei Skip Taylor

The picture to the left is from a local thrift shop. While I understand that not everyone will train for their lifetime in the martial arts but this shouldn’t happen. Yes, this is just my opinion so you don’t need to bash me about it.

Why do I feel this shouldn’t happen? The reason is that I don’t feel the accomplishments that the belts represent were honored. If a student can “throw out” their belt, then the truth of the martial arts wasn’t learned. This could be the student was never truly interested (i.e. parents made them go to class) or the school didn’t teach the principles of the martial arts well enough.

It is safe to say that all martial arts schools of every style preach the principles and benefits of the martial arts…at least in their marketing. The principles are tweaked to fit each style/school presentation to potential students in an attempt to set them apart from other styles/schools. The question then becomes “Are the principles taught in class?”

If the principles are taught, then I believe each belt would be too valuable to dispose of. Implanting the principles into the minds of young people will greatly benefit them as they grow into adults. It is the principles that will help guide their actions as adults in relationships and careers. This will be how they understand to lessons taught by their parents. The actions and requirements by their parents are principles in use but, without words and practice as taught in class, they may be confusing and difficult to understand.

I struggle with the high focus on sport as it can diminish the achievement of goals (ranks) that will affect the student for life. Sport can replace true goals with chasing excitement and flash. Unfortunately, the joy and excitement of a tournament trophy is short lived! The next day…even that night…all is back to “normal”. No cheering crowd. No teammates congratulating you. Just another piece of plastic or cheap metal to put on a shelf.

This is important to me as it will help determine the kind of person a young student will become. Okay, that’s a bit strong but it is the best words that I have. When the focus is on flash…and that a flashy black belt uniform is just a goal…the real understanding of the martial arts principles is lost. One of the principles taught by Supreme Grand Master Byung Jick Ro was “Boodahn Noryeok” (Never Ending Effort). Without this being taught, the achievement of goals does nothing to build the student’s character.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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