Earning a Blackbelt is a lot like running a Marathon

Frequently, when kids take up karate, they believe they are in a race to get their blackbelts.  The funny thing is, they don’t realize they have signed up for a marathon and not a sprint.  The thing about a marathon is that they take a lot of preparation and you have to have a tremendous amount of patience, both while preparing for, and running the race.

Taking a kaizen philosophy towards any big endeavor is the best way you can approach it.  Positive, continuous small improvements made daily amount to huge gains in the long term.  In training for a marathon, you don’t just go out and run long distances.  You train frequently running short distances, and slowly build up your ability to run longer and longer.  Likewise in karate, you don’t just start by sparing someone advanced or knowing all of master form.  You start in small steps learning each technique and building up your fundamentals.  You learn 1 move of the kata at a time, making sure you completely understand it, and slowly learn the entire thing.

There is a famous saying that a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.  Sometimes a big goal (like running a marathon or getting your blackbelt) might seem so daunting and big, that you can’t even start because it is so large a task.  The key is, you just start.  You take a single step.  You go for a one mile run.  You come to your first karate class.

Once the marathon starts, you don’t start out by running as fast as you can.  You would burn out quickly and won’t finish.  You must find the correct pace for you, and hopefully if you have prepared, you can keep that pace throughout the race.  Likewise in karate, you want to be consistent with your training.  You don’t want to come to class for a few months and then take off a few months.  Come to class consistently.  Practice as often as you can at home.  Consistent training will pave the way to improved performance, and ultimately, completing your goal.

There are many, many people out there who want to run a marathon.  There are many who want to get their blackbelt.  Tons of people sign up for these big undertakings, and most never accomplish their dream.  The people who make it have one big thing in common:  they simply never give up.  It sounds easy, and the concept is simple, but reality has a way of making this difficult.  Most people who sign up for a marathon never even make it to the starting line.  They get injured, they lose interest, and they just can’t prioritize the time needed to train.  Likewise, most people who start karate never make it to test for their blackbelt.  There are tons of excuses you can make.  Life can happen and make it really tough.  But, if you want to accomplish these things bad enough, you keep trying, you keep fighting, you keep pushing and eventually, if you don’t stop, you will accomplish your dream.  You will cross that finish line.  You will earn your blackbelt!  Don’t be the person who starts lots of these endeavors and never completes them.  Decide right now you will never stop chasing your dream.  I look forward to sitting on your blackbelt panel one day, when you make your dream a reality!

-Coach David-