Welcome to this week’s wisdom for the Inner and Outer You and the school of the Way.
Hello wisdom and adventure seekers!
I trust you have been enjoying the beginning of summer as much as I have been? The splendour of recently awakened flowers and trees, an all encompassing environment teeming with new life (plant and animal). I awake serenaded by birdsong in the early morning and enjoy afternoon rain showers with the occasional treat of rolling thunder brought to my receptive ears. An evening run takes me underneath the dangling vine-like branches of weeping willow trees, tickling the back of my neck as I pass as if to tease me. How I love to be a part of it all and experience nature’s grandeur!
Before the article I would like to remind you about an incredible event I will be co-hosting at the end of the month. If you have never had the opportunity to do a FireWalk then you have to join us! Click the link below for all the details and I look forward to having you join us. Bring the whole family for an exhilarating, unforgettable experience!
This addition to my blog is an excerpt from my book Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja. The story has been around before the publishing of my book in 2009. It has been used by many teachers but I have adapted it from my own personal experience being involved in martial arts training for over 30 years.
I hope you enjoy it and please keep your comments and suggestions coming. Also if would like to be a guest writer for my blog please contact me with a story you have in mind. If it fits the theme of my blog then it would be a pleasure to post it for you. Thank you for your time.
What Does The Term “Black Belt” Mean To You?
By Terry Hodgkinson
An ancient story tells about a martial arts student kneeling before a master instructor in the traditional ceremony to receive his hard-earned Black Belt. After years and years of unrelenting training, the student finally reached a peak of achievement in his martial art experience.
“Before granting the belt, you must pass one more test,” the master calmly told the young man.
“Yes sir. I’m ready,” responded the student, expecting perhaps one more round of combative sparring.
“You must answer the essential question: What is the true meaning of the Black Belt?”
“Why, the end of my journey,” said the student. “A well-deserved reward for my hard work.”
The master patiently awaited more comment. Clearly, he was not satisfied. The wise teacher finally spoke: “You are not ready for the Black Belt. Please return in one year.”
As the student knelt before his master a year later, he was again asked the question, “What is the true meaning of the Black Belt?”
“It is a symbol of distinction, a badge of honor and the highest achievement in our art,” the young man responded confidently.
Again the master patiently waited for more. Still unsatisfied, he repeated once more: “You are not ready for the Black Belt. Please return in one year.”
A year later the student knelt once more before his master and heard the question, “What is the true meaning of the Black Belt?”
“The Black Belt represents not the end, but the beginning, the start of a never-ending journey of discipline, awareness and the pursuit of excellence.”
“Yes,” said the master. “You are now ready to receive the Black Belt and continue your journey.”
Like the student who learned there is no end to his journey, awareness has no destination, no finale. It’s simply ongoing. When I ran my martial arts school, I would often tell those who had just accomplished their black belt that it represented only one thing—they had learned to use a base of effective tools and resources, as a carpenter learns how to use the tools of his trade. I told them that these tools and resources are to be used all the time in furthering their training and more importantly, furthering their life.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
― Abraham Lincoln