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A Black Belt Is Not Something You Earn, It Is Something You Become

Becoming a Black Belt is not merely an accomplishment that one earns; it is a transformative journey that requires intense dedication. The Black Belt Exam acts as a crucible, a powerful force that purges external layers and impurities, leaving behind a resilient and unyielding core. Throughout this process, the Black Belt candidate internalizes the principles of Hapkido and martial arts, incorporating them into their very being.

An analogy can be drawn from the tale of a farmer inspired to seek diamonds. The farmer, content with his sheep farming life, was enticed by the prospect of untold wealth through diamond mining. Abandoning his familiar existence, he embarked on an exhaustive quest, traveling far and wide, chasing clues, and exploring various locations for the elusive diamond mine. However, disillusioned and depleted of resources, he returned to his original village only to discover that diamonds had been found on his old farm. The cave he used for shelter during storms turned out to be a diamond mine. What he failed to recognize was that diamonds, in their raw state, appear as dull brownstones. It is the refining process – the polishing, cutting, and shaping – that reveals their true brilliance.

This narrative mirrors the journey to becoming a Black Belt. The transformation requires a willingness to sacrifice the current self for the potential self. Similar to diamonds, we must undergo a process that demands everything from us, shaping us into something far more remarkable than our initial state.

The story also serves as a cautionary tale about seeking shortcuts on the path to a Black Belt. There is no magical solution; the journey demands persistent, daily efforts – both physical and mental. Each day involves rigorous training, challenging ourselves mentally, and tackling areas that require improvement.

The pursuit of a Black Belt necessitates sacrifices. Time is invested significantly in training and choosing classes over other leisure activities. Comfort is relinquished as we push ourselves to stretch deeper and train harder, enduring bruises and knocks along the way. Pride and ego are sacrificed when we submit to our instructor’s guidance, even when it seems daunting or challenging. These sacrifices fortify us mentally, preparing us to withstand the rigors of a Black Belt Exam and emerge stronger on the other side.

After the Black Belt exam, the realization sets in that being a Black Belt is not a temporary title earned through external recognition. It becomes an integral part of who you are, a testament to the relentless effort and hard work invested in the journey. Those unfamiliar with the training may find the demands of a Black Belt exam seemingly unreasonable, but it is only through years of preparation, sacrifice, and hard work that such an event becomes a source of strength and motivation in daily life.

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