In today’s society, being able to say you are a “black belt” seems to be a bragging right; we all know it is a great accomplishment and that the recipient is capable of some serious fighting skills. But to attain a taekwondo black belt is so much more than a status symbol; it is a mark of extreme dedication and ability.
Many of us today are familiar with the process a person goes through to attain a black belt: a beginner gets a white belt, and through various tests of skills is granted new colored belts, each darker than the last, until they are finally granted a black belt. However, in the ancient times, thousands of years ago, things were a bit different. A beginner was given a white belt, as today. But rather than earning new belts as the trainer progressed, the same belt was worn day after day, collecting sweat and dirt after years of work and exertion. The darker and dirtier the belt, the more advanced the practitioner, until the belt at last appeared black.
Today, a taekwondo institute likes to reward and encourage students’ hard work by presenting new belts that signify increasing skill and accomplishment. While the belt tradition has been altered, the idea is the same: a taekwondo black belt signifies that a person has put in countless hours over the course of years to master an ancient practice of mental and physical strength. The person who wears a black belt is one to respect, and his or her dedication is to be replicated.
While any taekwondo black belt is an extraordinary feat, there are different levels of skill one can strive for. To be exact, there are nine levels of black belt. A taekwondo institute can help a martial art student progress in belt status, but a level nine can take an entire lifetime to achieve.
Many people would like to be able to claim the status of taekwondo black belt. But the desire to impress others is not enough. One must train diligently for years, strengthening the body and controlling the mind. A taekwondo institute offers support and guidance on the path towards a desired level of martial art progression, but true fulfillment comes from within.