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Black Belt candidate in Action

By Rochelle E. Brenner

This is a high school freshman teaching karate to his classmates for his Black Belt project. All black belts are required to do a project to share the martial arts. The student can choose how to share it, whether it’s writing a story, creating artwork or teaching karate to people who don’t already train.

This 14-year-old got a bunch of kids to recite the student creed, practice a combination, perform a self defense, and perform a kata. He displayed public speaking skills, courage, physical skill and social competence.

These are all qualities of a great black belt.

It’s one thing for students to train for their own benefit. It’s quite another for them to reflect on how their training can benefit other people.

This is just one example of the inspiring projects that come out of the Black Belt test and why it’s so important for students to achieve this goal. It gives them the opportunity to share something meaningful with their unique skill. It’s so sad when students quit before this point because then they never get the chance to see how their dedication helps others.

We call this project the “link in the chain.” The idea is that martial arts has been passed on for thousands of years because the links were never broken. Someone always taught it to the next generation. In this case, the student literally taught karate to a new group of people.

But the clever thing about this project is that it can incorporate anything that the student is interested in. One student made a karate comic book. Another one made clay sculptures of karate weapons – another used legos. Another one made a digital animation of a side kick. Another one sewed a custom karate weapons case. In all of these cases, they incorporated their hobbies or skill set to make something that they incorporated into their karate life so that it could inspire others.

This blog is another way of strengthening those links so that this freshman's teaching might inspire someone else.

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