It seems that in today’s world it’s all about how fast things happen. There is no emphasis on quality, just on speed – people want instant gratification. People don’t want to go through a learning process and work from the bottom. They want to start at the top. There is no longer a thing called “building wealth”. People want it NOW. It is the same in martial arts! Nobody wants to go through the learning process. Nobody wants to go through the many years of sacrifice. Stories of blood, sweat and tears seem to be a distant memory.
People run after “Get rich quick” schemes instead of focusing on what will truly create wealth. I see martial arts clubs advertising “Get your black belt in 6 months”, and “Get your online PHD in martial arts” courses. The sad thing is that so many people fall for it.
I don’t blame people out there for having so little respect for black belts. They are well within their rights to say that a “black belt” is a useless piece of cloth. Gone are the days when a black belt represented perseverance, hard work, mental fortitude and toughness. So called “black belts” are produced quicker than T-shirts in China these days. They come off the production line with somewhat of a resemblance to the real thing, and as soon as they are tugged on a little too hard, they tear.
“How long will it take me to get my black belt?” is a question I have heard countless times. What does it matter? Getting your black belt quickly doesn’t make you any better. In fact, it makes you a whole lot worse. People are too concerned with the “title”. They don’t want to know about the training and the hardships that come with achieving a real black belt. They are only concerned with being able to run around saying that they have one. This type will never make it past the first week of training in my club. They are better off finding a McDojang/McDojo that will suit their needs.
A black belt should say something about the person wearing it. A black belt is not only about a person’s skill level. It should tell us that they are dedicated, loyal, hardworking and goal oriented. These days we can assume none of these things when somebody has a black belt. When a student is “fast tracked” the black belt becomes meaningless.
In this fast paced world we have created a market for the martial “con” artist, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves. It is due to our endless desire for the quick fix. Hopefully the true Black Belt clubs out there don’t die out completely to these “fast food” martial arts imposters. It is up to us to step back and realize that faster isn’t always better. Sometimes quality is more important than quantity. Bring the meaning back to Black Belt.