Becoming a Black Belt

Think about a black belt, as something you lose, not something you win. Sawaki Kodo, a Zen master, often said, “Winning is suffering, losing is enlightenment.” If one asks the difference between today’s and past practitioners, I would answer that past practitioners saw training as “loss.” They abandoned everything for their art and practice, families, work, security, fame, money, to develop themselves. Today, they just think about winning. “I want this, I want that.” We want to practice martial arts but we also want money, fame, cell phones and everything anyone can have.

When the student looks at his training from the standpoint of loss rather than gain, he approaches the spirit of mastery, and truly becomes brave as a black belt. Only when you finally give up your thoughts on track exams, trophies, fame, money, and art mastery itself, do you realize that your PRACTICE is the most important. Be humble, be kind, take care of others and put everyone ahead of you. To study martial art is to study your true self yourself. This has nothing to do with graduations. A great Zen master once said: “To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to understand all things.

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