We celebrate, big time, when one of our students makes their Black Belt!
Mind you, often there is a public perspective, driven by the media, that one who achieves Black Belt has developed super human powers and their whole body is a deadly weapons...cue the old 80s line..."my hands are registered as deadly weapons" (which in case you are wondering, does NOT exist.)
This is not the case or the reason we celebrate this milestone.
The journey to get the belt is what we acknowledge and celebrate.
These individuals have trained for years. They have sweat, cried, bled and sacrificed. Each person has faced, at one time or another, a myriad of obstacles and emotions. They have struggled with time limitations, self discipline and self control.
The challenges of hard work, working in cooperation with others (some times people they have a difficult time working with for one reason or another), frustrations, confusion, confidence issues and more is the real substance behind the rank and belt!
Some have battled peer pressures, body images, history of abuse, addiction, personal issues etc and overcome them. Some are still working on those, but are in a far better place now, with the tools and attitude to make them a thing of the past.
Without a doubt, no one gets a Black Belt in our dojo without being held to high standards of physical and technical skill. That is not the victory that we celebrate. We celebrate the person standing in front of us, better for going through their journey and capable of moving forward to even higher achievements.