When did you honestly feel you were a 'black belt' in your art?

Twin Fist

Mar 22, 2008
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Nacogdoches, Tx
for me? two times really.

1) My instructors picked me to the be the BB that worked with the people getting ready to test for BB. That let me know that my opinion, and skills were respected by not only the instructors, but the students in my school.

2) I was at a tournament, and the guy running it grabbed me to help judge the BB forms grand championship. I looked, there was James Toney, 10th degree in one corner, Keith yates, 10th degree in another corner, a 6th in another corner, and when i walked up, they all knew my name and thanked me for helping them judge the division. When THAT crowd accepts you into it, it means something.


El Oso de Dios!
Lifetime Supporting Member
Mar 5, 2005
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Where the hills have eyes.,and it's HOT!
When I started learning the material for my next promotion....which wasn't for a while, because the first couple of weeks after the promotion were reviews and (harsh!) critiques of everything I'd learned so far....

...still can't believe it, somedays-and "deserve" has nothing to do with it.
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Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
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Aug 29, 2001
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Athol, Ma. USA
The day I passed my test I knew I knew the material needed and was strong enough to pass the extremely hard day long endurance test of an old ways school of doing things

The day I was congratulated on my rank and told it was over due by such people as GM Pai, GM Griffin, Gm Hamsey, GM Cerieo, etc. I knew I was accepted as a black belt by those I respected outside of my organization.

The day I was asked to judge black belt grand championships with two Gm's and two masters I knew they all trusted my judgment when refereeing ( yes i was still a 1st)

The day I opened my first school I felt I was qualified to wear the belt and teach. The day my students entered their first competition and won I knew my teaching was working.

This thread has made me think back upon those events that placed me where I am today

Still with all that I can not say when I first felt I deserved to wear the blet or hold the rank because I never thought about it all that much. It was a natural progression of learning , teaching, and gaining respect by my actions

still learning

Senior Master
Nov 8, 2004
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Hello, Having earn to two black belts in two different styles....each of us have the same thoughts about the feeling of being a black belt.

For many of us when looking back as white belts? ...and looking at the black belts training us? .....they look powerful and can beat anybody!

After reaching there (BB) rank.....OUR THOUGHTS of what a BB should be is a powerful fighter and knowledgeable of offense and defense skills.

Looking at ourselves as BB....it seems we NEED MORE of something? or it seems we lack something?

Today the rank of BB has a different meaning than those who were promote in the 50's and 60's. ...in those days...tons of full contact sparring and lots of hard contact fighting...and they were physcial stronger than those today.

That is why we feel the way we feel....lacking something or need more of something to prove we deserve the rank of Black Belt!


Rank has NO purpose here!

A BB should be phycial strong...can run far and fast...can do 200 push-ups or more..can jump rope for over 10 minutes or more....lot of endurance....lots of energy to continune or is very phyical fit and can handle any situtions with confidence in their phyical strenghts.

Two: Able to fight back base on experience in the bull rings/full contact sparring and lots of it! Has boxing experience and can box!
(meaning here: confidance in their own fighting skills....) to survive mulitple attackers...

We all imagine BB to be like Mr Bruce LEE.....NOT! ....just cable of defending our selves. This means also by NOT Fighting! To be able to avoid...walk way....

Just an opinion......color of belt...is just a rank like in the military...more stripe...does not mean a better fighting soldier.....just a little bit more knowledge....

Look around and watch BB's from all over? .......so many....anyone can get on BB.....

This weekend in the Big Island of Hawaii...was the IRONMAN TRIATALON

Only one came in first....those who finish? ...both can claim....they finish it and reach the goal of being a IRONMAN!

Aloha, ...just my thoughts on this....

Rich Parsons

A Student of Martial Arts
Founding Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
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Oct 13, 2001
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You know, when I first started in the martial arts at SFA, I felt I would be happy just obtaining a green belt. Then it became a 'red' belt (like a brown belt.) Well later, much later, I made the dreaded '1st dan'.

Thing is, I felt no different than before when I was 1st Gup. No magic wand effect. No Bruce Lee ability came over me. Bummer it was I tell you.

I can say with honesty it took years for me. That dan rank didn't change me except in one way, and here is the way.....

I felt now I had to live up to it. And living up to it wasn't so easy.

It took alot of practice, pain, and time to do that! I mean alot. I'm still doing it now.

How long did it take you to finaly feel you were capable, really capable, as a 'black belt' is supposed to be?


This is difficult.

I could already fight before I began to train. Was I a trained fighter or person? No. Could I fight and win with my size and determination? Yes.

So it was not my skill set in fighting that determined when I thought I should be a Black Belt or felt like one.

I was helping Brown Belts prepare for their Black Belt test while I was a Blue Belt. (* Rank was not an issue for me, I was more concerned about learning techniques and how to apply them. *) This did not make me feel like I should test for black belt or was qualified either.

During my Black Belt test, I was performing a personal form, that I had been working for years. It was a stick form that switched hands with the weapon and did techniques left handed including stick throws and or locks, and when I was done GM Presas stood up and began clapping. He was smiling and very pleased with my presentation. (* I felt good, but I still did not take that show for me alone as proof of feeling like a black belt *)

I had been teaching from early ranks with new students. Of course a Black belt would come check, and correct if required. So, getting in front of class and teaching even when the class agenda was left 100% to me and not a Senior telling me to teach something, did not make me feel like a black belt.

When I was testing for second and others had need of help and I gave it. When I was their partner so they could show what they could on their day, even though I was going for two, it their day for Black Belt. So adjusting my body and or timing to help others did not make me feel like a black belt.

Even after I tested for second I still did not feel like a black belt.

I tested for third, and was part of the discussions for the other promotions. This did not make me feel like a black belt.

I am not sure when it was, yet it might have been when I could answer questions posed by students in class and also at seminars I was teaching.

I am not sure if I have it everyday, but I really think it for each person to find out for themselves. I do not think it will be the same fore everyone.