You bow deeply when you exit the dojo.
Yet, you cut somebody off in traffic as you drive home.
You say: “Karate teaches us to be humble.”
Yet, you say “I’m a black belt” on the first date.
You train hard in the dojo, even if nobody is looking.
Yet, you won’t do the dishes at home – even if somebody is looking.
You meet your sensei several times a week.
Yet, you forget to visit your own parents.
It’s weird, isn’t it?
Respect, honor, loyalty, humility, self-control, integrity, honesty…
These were the words spoken by the ancient masters.
Words that, when successfully followed, could help us attain an enlightened life.
Sadly, for many people they remain just that.
Shallow and useless.
Spoken, yet never applied.
But as a black belt, you practice them all the time.
Often without even knowing.
- Respect is when you bow deeply to your training partner – even though he’s a douchebag outside of class.
- Self-control is when you stop your punch an inch from your opponent’s nose – even though you could easily have crushed it.
- Loyalty is when you help your sensei teach kids classes – even though you’re dead tired.
- Humility is when you ask your opponent for feedback – even though he’s “lower grade” than you.
- Integrity is when you refuse to use brute force over correct technique – even though you’re losing the sparring match.
- Honor is when you stand up to these black belt values – even though somebody trash-talks your Karate.
I could go on…
But you get the point.
See, here’s the thing:
When the old masters told us to use Karate in our daily lives, they weren’t just talking about the punches and kicks.
They were talking about the essential mental components that allow us to successfully dictate when, where, why and how to best use those very same punches and kicks.
A way of thinking.
Because real Karate has the power to end life.
And with that power comes a moral responsibility, manifested through a set of traditional values, ethos and codes of conduct virtually identical in all major warrior civilizations throughout the history of mankind.
Karate is no exception.
You see, although Karate can easily make us feel healthier, stronger, fitter or happier – so can jogging, ice hockey, baseball, soccer, golf, basketball, water polo or yoga.
There’s really no difference.
Unless you make a conscious decision to relentlessly practice Karate in the pursuit of being a true representative of the black belt ideal, in every sense of the word. Both inside and outside of the dojo.
If you’re a black belt, you should brush your teeth like a black belt, tie your shoes like a black belt and wipe your a** like a black belt.
Because Karate teaches us humility, respect, loyalty, integrity, honor and much more.
But it doesn’t guarantee it.
And that’s why black belt is not really a belt.
It’s a state of mind.
A Way of life.
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.”
– Bruce Lee (1940-1973)