Black Belt - Expert or Novice?

One of the greatest misconceptions within the martial arts is the notion that all black belt holders are experts. It is understandable that those unacquainted with the martial arts might make this equation. However, students should certainly recognise that this is not always the case. Too often, novice black belt holders advertise themselves as experts and eventually even convince themselves.

The black belt holder has usually learned enough technique to defend themselves against single opponents of average ability. They can be compared to a fledgling that has acquired enough feathers to leave the nest and fend for themselves. The first degree is a starting point. The student has merely built a foundation. The job of building the house lies ahead.

The novice black belt holder will now really begin to learn technique. Now that they have mastered the alphabet, they can now begin to read. Years of hard work and study await them before they can even begin to consider themselves an instructor or expert. A good student will, at this stage, suddenly realise how very little they know.

The black belt holder also enters a new era of responsibility. Though a freshman, they have entered a strong honourable fraternity of the black belt holders of the entire world; and their actions inside and outside the training hall will be carefully scrutinised. Their conduct will reflect on all black belt holders and they must constantly strive to set an example for all grade holders.

Some will certainly advance into the expert stages. However, far too many will believe the misconception and will remain a novice, mentally and technically.