Author Topic: Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?  (Read 5347 times)

Offline Serene

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Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« on: August 06, 2003, 05:47:44 PM »
Good Afternoon:

I received my shodan/1st degree belt 2 mos ago. During these past 8 weeks a lot has changed in my life. It's been ALL good. A lot more doors of opportunity have opened for me. Kaju is good!  ;D 8) :D

Was becoming a black belt all you thought it would be? Or where you dissapointed?
Did you welcome the responsibility that came with the belt?
Since receiving your black belt what changes or differences have you made? If you have not yet, what would you like to see different?

Knowing what you know now if you had the chance to do it all over again do you think you were ready for your promotion? Or do you wish you had waited to receive your belt until YOU were truly ready?

What story or advise can you pass onto a young black belt as myself? Maybe your story or advise can help us that are coming up not to repeat bad mistakes.

I have always said its great to have senior belts because they are the ones that have already been through it.  So here I am asking for assistance. :D ;)





Sifu Serene Terrazas
Head Instructor
Terrazas Kajukenbo
American Canyon, Ca.

Offline DACS

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2003, 09:15:56 AM »
My only advice to offer being that I am only a young black belter myself, is to accept it proudly. If by some chance you feel you don't deserve it, just remember that someone else does and there must be a reason for that. Before I took my first black belt test, I thought that I wasn't ready. But my instructor said that he knows what it takes and that I have it. My problem was that I thought that I had to be a superman before I could receive my black belt. But if that were the case, it would never happen. I was told to look at the long road that I had traveled (took seven years) and the accomplishments along the way. I looked at my abilities fr
om when I first started (physical and mental) and compared them to the present. Wow, what a difference. The thing is that my goals kept changing as I progressed, so I was never where I wanted to be. What I had to learn to do was acknowledge the goal that I had achieved before moving on to another.  I kept comparing myself to my seniors, and that's a big mistake because they have many years and experience over myself.
Becoming a black belt was actually more than I had expected. It changed my outlook on things as a person and as a martial artist. Especially as an instructor. Teaching has helped me to better understand people and their emotions. I need to constantly be aware of the kind of students that we are working with. I have learned to cope with attitudes and how to deal with them. And one of the things that I really like is that I've learned to tolerate the little kids. And it  really helped me when I got two of my own. I can put up with a lot now. Thanks to the patience and understanding gained as an instructor. The best thing I've gained out of it is LEADERSHIP. I used to be a shy kind of guy. Anyone would tell you now that it's not the case. I feel comfortable taking charge of things and I feel CONFIDENT when I do things. And this has carried on into my everyday life. I'm sure it has with you.
On another note, my instructor passed away shortly after he promoted me to my black belt. Personally, it would not have felt the same being promoted to black belt by anyone else. He is the one who gave me the knowledge that I have gained and the one who guided me along my path. The love, compassion and respect that I have gained for him will always remain. I'm glad I have my seniors, together we carry on his legacy. And if I could ever gain just one student who feels that same way about myself, Then it gives me even that much more satisfaction.
Good luck...I'm sure you won't need it.

Always in training...............................
Ramos Method
Wahiawa Kajukenbo

Offline Chief Instructor

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2003, 12:55:14 PM »
Always remember that the training never ends and that you can always learn something from anyone, no matter what rank, age, etc.
Sigung Andrew Evans, KSDI #888
Hokkien Martial Arts, Topeka, KS
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Offline cirillo

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2003, 04:45:43 PM »
Hmm...  Well, it is hard for me to give advice on this issue, but I will try to give my spin on it.

I don't really think that the color of your belt should make any difference.  Possibly, you have some additional responsibilities, but overall, you are the same person that you were before.

By this statement you can see.  The belt can not dissapoint.  Should not cause you to change.

The issue of being ready... well, each step proves you are ready, and really, there are 10 degrees of black.  You have just started your training.

As for advice... train, train, train hard... and when you get tired, that is a good time to train some more.  You are only a student... until you die.  Too bad you can't train after that.  Learn from your students, learn from your instructors and learn from everyone around you.... then train some more.

Not sure this helps, but it is what came to mind.

Congratulations on your promotion!!!!
Sifu Jeffrey D. Cirillo,  7th Degree Black belt in Wun Hop Kuen Do under GM Al Dacascos and 3rd Degree in FaChuan (Blossom Fist) under Sifu Bill Owens with over 35 years experience in the martial arts.
College Station, TX

Offline DACS

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2003, 09:52:03 PM »
Cirillo, what you posted is oh so true. My instructor Sigung Tony Ramos always told me that my black belt is just the beginning of my journey. Everything else before that is preparation. And I also agree with you and Mr. Evans about learning from everyone...I feel the same way. The training has made me naturally observant of other people and it makes it easier to learn just by watching and observing. I learn from our students also when they challenge me with a question or situatiuon. They force me to think on my feet. Everyone gives different responses and reactions to different things, and that's a challenge in itself. I welcome information about other styles that they have studied and evaluate it to decide if it can be incorporated into our training...whether it be training excercises or techniques or concepts...
My belt has not changed me...but the training that it took to get me there has made me a better peson in my own eyes.

ALOHA
Ramos Method
Wahiawa Kajukenbo

Offline Kaju Bear

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2003, 04:26:59 AM »
Congrat’s on the promotion! All the hard work and time spent reaching that goal is worthy of praise not many make it. Remember when you started training? How many of those people are still your peers? I suspect few if any which makes you unique. Truly something to be proud of.

You ask some good questions about the changes after becoming a black belt. I think as we worked toward that goal with our instructors and peers we focused primarily on the physical requirements. Abilities required to be recognized by our organizations as attaining a certain skill level. Certainly there probably was some additional focus on fusing our spirits with our actions to include some moral and ethical instruction. Depending on our teacher’s personal strengths and weakness these all play out to one degree or another for each of us. For me on this physical level of skill alone I was certain that I was prepared and ready.

Did I welcome the responsibility? Do we really have a choice? Yes, of course we do. Welcome or not you choose to have it placed upon your shoulders when you continue your training to that level. I know that for me it was a responsibility not entered into or issued light heartedly. My teacher was very determined to have a student demonstrate his responsibilities as preparation for become a black belt in three specific areas; by your dedication to training, your devotion to school, your loyalty to your teacher. This began when you volunteered, as it were, to become an “advanced student”. You were told about the increased involvement in your training required by you to become an advanced student. So training in so many ways became the focal point in your life for at least a couple years. You trained a minimum of 4 times a week, you taught or assisted in teaching at least once a week, you meet with your instructor for an advance class and meal once a week.  Assisted with seminars, tournaments, workshops, camping retreats. So by the time I received my 1st degree I was deeply involved in all aspects of the school. l bring up this aspect of black belt responsibility only because I feel you were hinting at it with your question. For other then the ethical question of responsible actions or reactions with your skills, I could think of no other.

At first, I very much welcomed these responsibilities. I had become one of the few “made men” as you could say that was accepted into a sort of special club. I had become a Kajukenbo black belt. I had been told that “once you become a 1st degree you can do whatever you want” but until then, we were not allowed to deviate from the confines of our structured applications of techniques and fighting theories ie forms, counters, etc. Since I had spent so many years involved in training, teaching, and even the business aspects of running a school, I guess I was very eager to share with my teacher and my black belt peers my opinions and observations once I was able to freely express them on what I thought would be more equal terms. That didn’t happen and I started to feel as if after attaining my 1st degree that I was expected to continue to make significant social sacrifices in order to be thought of as a “real black belt”. That was my biggest disappointment after becoming one.

Advise? I would say ask yourself what do you want to get out of your investment in your art other then the physical abilities and development you have already attained. Some say that teaching is a necessary “pay back” to the art or the system but I am not inclined to think so. Being an active member seems to fulfill any obligations to advance your art. Not everyone is meant to be a teacher or should be forced to. Where do you see yourself in 10 or even 20 years from now? Do you see yourself still committed to active participation of your art? In what capacity?  In the Chinese founded arts, change is taught as a strategy. It’s taught as philosophical point of few that it is inevitable.  Whoever adapts to change easily tends to have a happier life. I believe it because I’ve lived it. I started studying the martial arts in high school now I am twenty plus years down the road and I am certainly not the same man. I can’t think of an area of my life that hasn’t changed. My interests and dedications to my martial arts practice have been hot and then cool over the years since becoming a black belt as I have gone through life’s little changes but I have always found some connection to my martial art studies and some form of practice or daily application of it. Each in his or her own way must discover what that will be and how long they will hold to their martial arts path (whatever that path represents to them).  My career in the military was a natural extension of my martial arts training where I could apply lessons learned in my past to events today. I would say, for me, my warrior’s spirit as a soldier has a strong foundation built on Kajukenbo.

I hope that these thoughts help you. I know that reflecting on your questions has given me some things to think about as well.

Respectfully,
Sifu Morg


Sifu Morg Olsen
3rd degree, Emperado Method, Senior Grand Master Kaanana
1st degree, Tum Pai, Grand Master Robert Heuer

Offline Serene

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2003, 03:45:02 PM »
Good Day Sir(s):

WOW! What great responses we are receiving. I think its great to see how everyone has a view and some wisdom and lessons learned to pass on.  ;D

DACS, Andrew Evans, Cirillo, and Sifu Morg  -   I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and opening up as you did. Your stories were very inspirational. Yes, I remember coming up my Sifu was exactly what I wanted to be. I didn’t believe that I would be able to fill such shoes.  When I was a purple belt I believed that Kajukenbo is were I was suppose to be. Initially I took the art to maintain my weight so that I may keep up with my son, Tyler.  :D

The thing that caught me in Kajukenbo was that the first time I walked into the dojo. I realized that I was not judged by my appearance or age. I was accepted for me.  I was very timid at the time. I was very concerned about my appearance and I felt that everyone else was too.

Kajukenbo accepted me and I accepted it.  The hours of training and dedication to my classmates, Sifu, school and art. When I started Kajukenbo I was one of nine white belts. When testing came 6mos later I was alone. I was the student who stayed 1-2 hours after class. I was the student who and wrote everything down for fear of forgetting or loosing what was taught to me. I breathed and lived on every word that was thrown to me.

By blue belt I was teaching the children’s class and assisting in the adult class. I just couldn’t get enough of it. After the last class I would stay another 1-2 hours so that my Sifu could assist me in my knowledge. I was in the dogo 5 days a week and spending 3-4 hours per day.

Now I was a green belt and I was still senior belt. The closest belt to me was purple. I began to feel as if something were missing. This is when I began looking inside of me, my internal instinct. I spoke with my Sifu and expressed that I felt as if there was a missing link within me. My Sifu advised me that maybe I needed to intensify my training. So my Sifu opted to take me with the other senior black belts. However, the other belts declined me because I was only a green belt. They advised me to wait until I was a brown belt. I was discouraged. I thought to myself there is no way I could ever become a black belt. I will never be ready if I do not receive the contact and be with senior peers. I felt that I needed more discipline and more contact with other students. I was unable to receive the contact I wanted in my school because I had separated from them. They now saw me as an assisted instructor not a student.

Than I remembered hearing about another Kajukenbo school in Vallejo. My Sifu said that I needed an invite to go this school and I couldn’t just walk in. Again, I’m thinking gosh, I just want to train nothing else. So, I decided to go and find this school and to my surprise they welcomed me and invited me to come back on Thursday and that my Professor Joseph Davis was going to be there to do a seminar. Now, I’m jazzed!  The only time I would see Professor was during belt promotions. Wow now I have the opportunity to train with him! Excellent!

I began training with this school after my Sifu wrote a letter giving me permission to train. The school was KSDI Vallejo under Grandmaster Bautista. How great was that I thought and I still feel the same today. GM Bautista, Prof. Powell, Prof. Davis, Sifu Paledau and their students took me in. I was and still a  Aleju Reyes (Emperado Method) student and this was a  Agung Tony Ramos method house. The gap within in me was starting to fill. I had found that piece and was very happy. It was a difficult time because in order for me to cross train I still had my duties in my original house but it was worth it. I enjoyed training and learning.

As fate would have it my original Sifu and I parted. Now, I was homeless. Where to go? Who to call? Start over or just quit?!?! At this time I am now a brown belt. I return to GM Bautista’s to say thank you and give up my belt to him because my Sifu and I have parted. GM Bautista to my surprise tells me “do you know why I took you in”? It was not because of your letter from your Sifu it was because of you. You are suppose to be here you will continue to train here at 974 Benicia Road. Now, what we will do with you we don’t know but you have a home. Granted I am 4 mos from testing for my black belt. If I stayed with my original Sifu I would have been given the school upon receiving my black belt because my Sifu was leaving California. As tempting as this was I did not feel that it was right for me.

Now, I had been cross training with GM for a year now before I became a permanent student. As fate would have it again, Prof. Powell had learned the Emperado Method from Prof. Joseph Davis. So believe it or not there is someone in a Ramos house that can help me continue. Prof. Powell and Prof. Davis helped me to continue my training under the Emperado Method.

I watched my other classmate’s promotions and I wait and wait as my heart is breaking. I began to think that I would never be a black belt (mental trip 101). I realized than that a belt does not make or take the love that you have in your heart for the art. I continued to go to everything, seminars, tournaments, regular classes, weekend classes, boxing gym and dinner functions.. So, to my surprise I am told that I will receive my Shodan but we are not sure of a date. So, I continue and one day I walk into class and its time. My time!

And everyone is right DACS, Cirillo, Andrew Evans, Sifu Morg the belt does not make you. You make the belt. The person wares the belt the belt does not make the student. By the time you receive your black belt you r journey has begun.  The belt tells the time you have put in. But for me it shows me that through hard work, sacrifices, tears, emotional roller coasters and hard training I have earned my keep!

I am on the path of being that I am supposed to be a Kajukenbo martial artist. Everyday I set a goal than when I surpass that I set another and so on. It’s good to be where I am. I am enjoying my life as a Kajukenbo martial artist. What I find is different about me is my confidence. It has boosted up big time. My contribution is inspiration that no matter where you are or who you are if you have a goal set you can achieve with hard work, momentum and destiny. Believe in yourself and others around you will too. :)

Thank you all for opening up and allowing your internal strengths to come out. Know this because of your responses on this forum you have helped me accept who I am and who I will be. Thank you for the reminder.

I hope that my story too has helped you as you have helped me.  Let’s see if others can add to this very special topic “Your life as a Black Belt-Good or Bad”.  ;)
 
Sirs, thank you for the congrats on my promotion.

Soifua.  
 8)
Sifu Serene Terrazas
Head Instructor
Terrazas Kajukenbo
American Canyon, Ca.

TODD

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2003, 12:39:11 AM »
It took me 16 years from white to black.  I moved alot growing up, and considering my instructor
is also my father I trained off and on.  When we were together I trained when the opportunity
presented its self.  I was lucky and unlucky with this arrangement.  Lucky that my father is a
black belt willing to teach me and unlucky that I moved alot.  It wasn't until 1995 that I started
training for a 3 year time span after returning from an enlistment in the Navy.  In 1998 I tested
and passed the Black Belt test.  I felt I was ready but more importantly my instructor thought I
was ready.  The true test was teaching on my own for the first time.  As a green and brown belt
I assisted but my instructor was always overseeing being nearby the studio.  This was a big
responsibility.  Its true that one learns from their students.  Should they pay me or should I pay
them? ;) My advice to those beginning is stick with it.  If Kajukenbo is for you you'll know it inside.
It becomes a passion.  When life throws obstacles roll with it whether it be a move, injury, deployment,
or anything else that gets in the way.  I havn't taught or practiced since late 1999.  I now have a
burning desire to teach.  As soon as I can coordinate my work schedule its a go.  My lesson
learned is practice, practice, and practice whether your not taking lessons or teaching anymore.
Now I'm in a situation where I need to refresh my memory in order to teach students.  Good
thing my wife taped my Black Belt test!  :o  All in all its been good since 1998.  And yet it has just
begun especially with so much still to learn!  

Offline DACS

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2003, 02:36:25 AM »
Aloha Serene, I like yor post about how you were accepted and not judged. I know that it is a reason why many students stay. We try to give them a sense of belonging. It is my belief that everyone can learn and everyone can grow. Coming from a broken home, I have found a feeling of belonging with my school and my instructors. They are wonderful role models for me and I hope that I am for our students also. Good posts...MAHALO.
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Offline Mell

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2003, 10:31:42 PM »
My life as a black belt -

Good - My training is just now starting, so I have to train harder.

Bad - Other students look to you for help, so I have to train harder - Oh yeh, that's the good part.

Weird - I don't go around telling people about it, but when they find out, they tell their friends about it by introducing me to them as if I am a close personal friend, even though I hardly know them.   (I think I wrote that clearly?)  

Annoying - When people point to the leather belt around their waist and say "I have a black belt too!"
Sibak Mellody Porter
ANDERSON MARTIAL ARTS - Grafton, Ohio
www.ohiokajukenbo.com
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TODD

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2003, 12:45:16 PM »
So true!  I too keep being a black belt private.  Some people have a tendacy to brag about
themselves as if I'm a threat.  I just nod and smile and go about my own business ;D

Offline Serene

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2003, 06:21:07 PM »
Hi Todd & Mell:

I apprecite both of your replies. Being a black belt is very impressive to most.

However,  as long we don't let it go to our heads its okay.  ;)

Most folks are proud of the achievements and are in every right. Than there are some that use their belts as leverage.

Either or its good to be a martial artist regardless of your belt.

Regards, ;D
Sifu Serene Terrazas
Head Instructor
Terrazas Kajukenbo
American Canyon, Ca.

Offline Serene

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2003, 03:04:07 PM »
Prof. Scott:

Thank you Sir that was a most moving and great quotation. I can totally relate. It was straight and to the point.

Very Inspiring!

Soifua,
 
Sifu Serene Terrazas
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Offline Brandi Ross

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Re:Your life as a BLACK BELT-Good or Bad?
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2003, 06:22:46 PM »
I really like Prof. Scott's quote.  It sums everything up and gets to the heart of things.  We need all those characteristics to make ourselves better.  We need to learn respect, humility, virtue, etc. as we grow.  We learn from our mistakes as we approach a stepping stone in training or life.  It goes hand-in-hand.  In life, we work towards improving ourselves, learning from our mistakes and moving forward in life.  In training, we do the same thing.  I'm on my way toward my black belt and I see many, many stepping stones in front of me.....

Aloha,
brandi
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