A few weeks ago, a room full of ninjas beat me silly just before promoting me to black belt in jiujitsu. It’s pretty surreal. The concept of “Black Belt” has a mysterious, omnipotent connotation that has transcended martial arts, and is used in every day language to represent mastery over a given subject. Some kid, somewhere, is a Pokemon GO black belt. I don’t want to meet him, but he’s out there.
Since the day Corey promoted me, my thoughts have ping ponged between, “Hell yeah, I’m a Black Belt!” and “How the hell am I a Black Belt?” More often than not, the self critical side of me whispers in my ear, “You don’t deserve it.” Occasionally, the more positive side of me will bleed through in to my conscious mind with, “The people you consider badasses apparently consider you one of their own, so just own it already, Killer J!”
My buddy Lucus posted something that has helped me keep a balanced perspective. I’ll close out this post by sharing his thoughts:
A belt in Jiu Jitsu is not just a recognition of your skill level. As you advance it shows both your skill, and your knowledge. Not just the knowledge and skill you already possess, but the ability to obtain a higher level of understanding. An armlock is no longer just an arm lock, a guillotine is broken down into a dozen small moves that form together to give the appearance of one big move. A blue belt is a goal, brown and black belts are keys. The keys simply unlocked the ability that others around you already see you have. What belts don’t do, is give you some all power that you will no longer lose. It is still Okay to tap, necessary even. There is no weight on your shoulder, you have no expectations to live up to but your own. As long as you are continually setting the bar higher for yourself you deserve the belt you wear.