The Art of Winning Blog

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Achieving Ninja Shodan (part 6)

Jeffrey Blockwick: I am 22 years old and have been training in martial arts for 10 years, beginning in 2002. After getting my Shodan in Tae Kwon Do in November of 2006, I began To-Shin Do and have been training at the Boulder Quest Center ever since, despite going out of state to Montana State University for school. My favorite activities are martial arts, including kenjutsu and taijutsu, rock and ice climbing, and camping.

In early 2007, when I joined the martial arts section of the Boulder Quest Center, after doing meditation classes for a few months beforehand, I was still newly a black belt. I was thrust into the white belt beginning class and saw it as beneath me. After all, hadn’t I just earned a black belt? Hadn’t I distinguished myself enough to be put on the fast track to another black belt? I had seen it happen in Tae Kwon Do and a friend of mine received his black belt after only two years of Tae Kwon Do. If they could do it, why not me? As I look back now, the very reasons I wanted to go ahead were the very reasons why I had to stay behind. Only by learning with an open mind and heart would I be able to go forward and achieve all I wanted to. Waiting and taking my time was one of the best decisions I have made in terms of martial arts. It has made me patient and calm. It has made me sure of who I am and given me a genuine desire to help people to learn. I have a wealth of knowledge, which doesn’t make me better than other people, but instead gives me a place to share what I know. 

While both of my belts are similar, they are very different and instead of negating one another, they build upon each other. My Tae Kwon Do training placed a firm building block at the base of the martial arts pyramid. The highest honor I can give to my past training is to use the balance and finesse that I have achieved to teach those below me. The highest honor I can give to my future belts is to not let my past training hold me back from seeing the truth with eyes unclouded. As I finish this essay, there is only one thing left to say. I am ready. 

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.

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