Recently we hosted a Committed to Black Belt Seminar. It’s a training seminar which attracts students of all levels from white to black belt. At this seminar our junior belts train along side black belts and are given the opportunity to ask the black belt students questions about their training journey.
One of the most common questions that we hear is, “How did you achieve your black belt?” Although there are many elements that contribute to a student attaining the level of black belt, there continues to be one underlying element which stands out for many of the seniors that I have heard answer this question.
The underlying element is the action’ of “turning up”. It sounds a little too simple doesn’t it. For as long as you choose to turn up consistently over a lengthy period of time you will stack the odds in your favour to earn your black belt.
It’s very simple advice, yet to implement the action of “turning up” in our lives can take a truck load of self-discipline, focus, determination, patience and a never give up attitude.
Some people would say that the path to black belt is seasonal much like life. You’ll have your highs and lows, you may lose sight of your initial commitment and goals, you may become distracted, you may find yourself fighting off a sea of negative emotions, self doubt and fears, you may even find yourself not progressing as fast as you would have liked.
On the other hand, you may feel more alive than you ever have, you may feel an inner strength guiding you to a more balanced, organised and fulfilling life, you may experience your mind and body become one and lead you to adventures and experiences that you may have once felt impossible, you may even feel body parts ache that you never knew you had.
The journey from white to black belt is going to take not only your physical muscles but also your mental and emotional muscles. All your muscles will fatigue and breakdown at various points in your journey and if you choose to continue to “turn up”, your muscles will repair and grow stronger and help you live a more harmonious, energetic and productive life. Because of the person you will become, there is no doubt that you will leave a foot print or two in this world and you will make a difference.
Being a person of action, I wanted to leave you with a couple of actions that may help you with “turning up”. Test them out at various times, create your own (and please share so we can all learn with you) or tuck them away for a rainy day.
1. “It’s Only 10 minutes”
No matter how you are feeling, just “turn up” and choose to do 10 minutes of the class. 9 times out of 10, people that do 10 minutes seem to hang about and complete the class.
2. “Get Your Whites On!”
If I’m really dragging the chain, I’ll throw my whites (karate uniform) on before leaving home. It seems to flick a switch and I start to break out a few moves and my mind fires up. And a bit of your favourite music/motivational audio in the car on the way to the dojo is icing on the cake.
3. “Movie Time”
As it’s time to switch your mind across to your karate training frequency, consider watching some of your favourite karate videos.
4. “Paint a Picture”
Review your training goals. Remind yourself why you are “turning up” at the dojo. Remember, it’s not just about a belt, go deeper and consider the person that you will become. Once you are aware of your goals, ask yourself questions like:
a. How would I think if I had achieved my goal?
b. How would I speak if I had achieved my goal?
c. What would my actions be if I had achieved my goal?
d. Who are the people that helped me achieve my goal?
e. What are the places/environments that helped me achieve my goal?
Then……. Get up, Turn up and be that person NOW!
If you can create a team of people that you can share this journey with you, you’ll create a whole lot of fun, you’ll push each other to greater heights and you’ll be able to call in a favour every now and then. If you know you are feeling challenged for whatever reason, you just need to take a look around and see who is running and jump on their wave. Borrow a touch of energy and momentum, throw it back (only bigger) to the person you are receiving it from, borrow more, return it (in a larger sum), do this a few times and before you know it you’ll be up and racing once again.
6. “A Touch of Perspective”
Ask yourself how you are likely to feel after completing your class? In my mind there is nothing better than walking out of the dojo knowing that you gave 100% to growing yourself, your technique and contributing to the lives of others. Turning up can be made easy when you have something to look forward to especially if you need to move yourself from a tired and low energy state to a state of fulfilment, joy and accomplishment.