That same time of year is approaching again, the winter test for black belt, the culmination of the last six years of hard work and dedication. There is one key difference this time though. The belt may be the same color, and may have my name on it, but it now means so much more. Now, it isn’t just a resume builder or a tally mark on my life. Now, these people are my greatest friends and allies. They are my teachers, and students, and because of them, and their support, I have become strong. This is the beauty of this Japanese martial art, To Shin Do. While the style does teach self-protection, it stresses confidence, resilience, and that strength is not just about how hard you can hit something. To Shin Do showed me that a calm head and heart will conquer many obstacles that just my muscle strength or kicking speed could not defeat alone.
Revisit the blog tomorrow for the next part of Jeff's essay.
To see Jeff earn his To-Shin Do shodan Black Belt, come to Winter Warrior 2013.