Black Belt Roles and Responsibilities

Becoming a black belt is not just about knowing your kata and having a good standard of kihon and kumite. It goes much deeper than just the physical. Those of us that are privileged to wear the belt should understand the roles and responsibilities that come with it.

When a student puts on their black belt they automatically become a role model. Other students, especially children, look upon black belt students/instructors with a sense of awe. It is all they want to become…it is what many, if not most people start training in karate for in the first place. Earning your black belt and reaching the required standard is a fantastic achievement, similar to earning a university degree. You receive your black belt and a certificate to go with it. That’s the tangible evidence that you have made the grade.

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Learning Kata the Right Way

Kata is something that must be learnt from a qualified and knowledgeable teacher. Although books and videos can enhance understanding and aid memory, they are no substitute for proper instruction. Your instructor will be the most important person to help you with regards to your karate.

The important thing is how good the instructor can make you, as opposed to how good they are. You require a Sensei, not a bodyguard. Visit a number of dojos and look at the standard of the students, the way they are dressed and their attitudes to one another as well as to the instructor. The Sensei / Student relationship is a special one. If you find a Sensei with a deep understanding of karate and a genuine love of the art, and if you are prepared to study hard with dedication, openness and honesty, then you are sure to make good progress in all aspects of karate.

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What it Means to be a Black Belt

Achieving a black belt means different things to different people. It’s something that’s aspired to when we first start training, but what happens when we get there? For the most part many of us are happy to train each week and improve our basics, keeping our sights on the short term goal of our next grade, with the prospect of a black belt being so far away it is barely worth mentioning or even that its achievable.

However time and commitment have a strange way of creeping our goals towards us and before you know it ‘POW’ your Instructor hits you with the news that you will be coming up for assessment. The panic starts to slowly build and the realisation that you have more work to do to refine your kata, sharpen technique, more hips, more everything and the big one ‘quick, I’d better get fit’.

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