A karate student was training for many years to finally receive his black belt. He had worked hard, advancing in rank ad was excited for this day to come.
He kneeled before his Master Sensei and the other Sensei. He performed all the Katas he knew, very well. He broke the boards and concrete that was required for testing. He sparred with several other black belts and scored extremely well, passing all the tests.
It came to the end and he again kneeled before his Master Sensei and waited when his Master Sensei said, “What is the true meaning and essence of a black belt?”
The student responded, “It is the end of my journey” The Master Sensei paused for several moments, seemingly disappointed with his reply, and then answered, “You are not yet ready for your black belt, return in one year”
The student continued to train hard and returned to the Master Sensei after one year to receive his black belt. He kneeled before his Master Sensei. His Master Sensei again asked, “What is the true meaning & essence of a black belt?”
The student replied, “It is the mark of true accomplishment in our Martial Art”
The Master Sensei again paused for several moments seemingly disappointed, once again, waiting for more from his student. He then replied with, “You are not yet ready for your black belt, return in one year”
After another year of hard training the student returns and kneels before his Master Sensei. The Master Sensei asks, “What is the true meaning and essence of a black belt?”
The student replies, “It is the beginning of my journey. It is the first step of a never ending journey of discipline, hard work, and the pursuit of an even higher standard. To apply and demonstrate integrity, respect, heroic courage, honor, compassion, sincerity, and loyalty. It is the first step, and why we start at one, the first degree.”
The Master Sensei replied, “Yes, you are ready to receive the black belt and begin your work.”
Did you know that initially there were no colored belts in karate. All belts were white and they only turned colors from years of arduous training in doors and outdoors, and sweat, to eventually arrive at black?