What It Takes To Earn A Black Belt

– What does it mean to
become a black belt? To some people, it’s the
end of a long journey. To others, it’s only the beginning. In today’s video, I wanna
share eight highlights from a recent black belt grading so that you can see what it takes to become a black belt right here. Now, I know that in many places young kids can actually
become black belts, but in my dojo, the age limit is 16. And what you’re about to witness is a 16 year old boy and girl fighting for their lives to
sum up years of experience and try to express it to
the best of their abilities to hopefully earn that
shiny new black belt. Before I show you these eight highlights from the black belt grading, please keep in mind that these are just a couple of snapshots from
a whole day’s grading, many hours of training and practicing all the way from the
morning to the afternoon. The reason I picked out
these specific moments is to show you how diverse and wide-ranging karate can actually be. Now let’s jump right into it. When you go for a black
belt grading at my dojo, you have to show everything all
the way from the yellow belt techniques to the black belt techniques. And one of the first things
that you need to learn is self-defense, especially on the ground because you don’t wanna
end up on the ground when you’re out on the street. These are a couple of self-defense moves that you have to execute when someone’s trying to hold you down and beat you up. As you can see, it’s not just
the black belt candidates, but a couple of other
young teenagers as well who are trying for other belts. The next part I wanna show you is called sanpo kuzushi, which literally means three methods of breaking somebody’s balance. Which, of course, relies on understanding how to manipulate their center of gravity to take them down and
pin them to the ground and then finish off with a joint lock. Next up, we have a kata. Now naturally, there are
many katas in karate, but this particular
one is known as sanchin and it’s a body strengthening
and conditioning kata known for its holistic properties
and breathing mechanics. And if you look closely,
you’ll see my mom, who’s the head sensei in the dojo, actually testing their physical capacity by poking and slapping around. Number four is what we call gyaku dori, which means that it’s
wrist escapes and reversals from somebody grabbing you. So you try to defend yourself, but also make that into
a counter wrist lock, take him down, and control him. Because karate is much more than just punching, kicking and blocking. This is one of the
hardest things in karate, and one of the most dangerous ones, too. Tanto dori, which literally
means how to escape and grab hold of somebody
who attacks you with a knife. As you can see, it’s just a
practice knife made out of wood. And of course, in real life,
if you were ever attacked, you should always try to escape. These techniques are for
when you cannot escape, and somehow need to defend yourself even if the attacker doesn’t accept your money, wallet, and keys. As part of the black belt grading, you also have to master some
of the old ancient weapons of Okinawa, also known as kobudo. In this case, you’re
watching a demonstration of the first bo kata, the staff. A black belt grading wouldn’t be complete without some fighting, also
known as kumite in Japanese. And the way we fight in my dojo is a little bit different from
modern sports-based schools because you’re actually allowed to grab, choke, do joint locks, takedowns, knee techniques, head butts, elbows, and anything else you can
imagine that you would need to use in a real fight to defend yourself. The fight lasts for over half an hour and the point is not to
look like a world champion, but to never give up, because
that is the karate spirit. Last but not least, the
final part of the grading that I wanna show you is a classical one. Tameshiwari, which of course is how you
break bricks and boards. And this is a true test of your character because there is no guarantee that you’re gonna break the
board on your first try, not even your second try or third try. Breaking a board is not so much
about smashing through wood as it is about smashing
through your own insecurities. Because at the other side of that board lies your black belt. (group applauding) – Awesome. Now that you’ve seen a little bit about what it takes to become
a black belt in my school, maybe you can leave a comment and tell me what it takes to become a
black belt in your school? I would love to know so we
can compare and share notes. Leave a comment and let me know. And remember; a black belt is not the end, it’s the very beginning.

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