Women's Empowerment Coach

10 Things I Learned From Getting My Black Belt

10 Things I Learned From Getting My Black Belt

As I write this a week after receiving my black belt in TaeKwon Do, I now have time to reflect on and process this amazing experience. I’ve learned quite a bit over the last three years of training and I’d like to share 10 amazing things I’ve discovered along the way in the hopes of inspiring you to go after something you have been dreaming of achieving.

As I look back, I think the biggest revelation is the realization that it wasn’t what I received in the end, but who I became in the process.  Don’t get me wrong, the black belt represents something very special to me, and as compared to the entire population, very few have achieved this level of success in the martial arts, especially women over 50!

But the best part is what I learned about myself because it changed my life –  mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Through this 3 year journey of personal discovery, I’ve learned to…

  1. Accept Myself – This was one of the hardest for me because I have always been self-conscience of my appearance, especially because of my weight. When I started the class I was over 200 lbs. and 51 years old, in a class full of 20 something’s that had been there many months or even years before me. But I made a promise to myself that I was not going to miss out on this great opportunity to cross something off my bucket list because of my insecurities. So I sucked it up, worked really hard, lost 40lbs, and here I am 3 years later. Pinch me!!! I still have insecurities…we all do. But I don’t let them stand in my way any longer, and since then my life has been full of amazing experiences
  2. Trust Myself – I took a while, but eventually I realized to trust that I can handle whatever is thrown at me, sometimes literally. We partake in sparring matches so we need to be able to read others’ body movements and react very quickly in order to counter the opponent’s punch or kick. We must learn to trust our instincts and not hesitate, because in real life a single second can sometimes be the difference between life and death. I have become very in tuned to my intuition which translates outside the gym as to how make decisions, take risks, and assess unfamiliar people or situations.
  3. Persevere – This is a big one in martial arts, because if you’re serious about the art, it will become a life-long endeavor. It’s not just learning a series of skills but embracing it as a way of life. It takes many years, hard work, and dedication to master the art; and most feel that it is never mastered. From this, I’ve learned that anything worth having is worth fighting for and you never stop learning and growing, however, success is not given freely and can only be achieved through drive, determination, and perseverance.
  4. Be Patient – Confucius said “One who is impatient in trivial matters can seldom achieve success in matters of great importance.” To be successful in any area of life we must cease to expect immediate gratification which seems like a good idea at first, but will only lead to long term frustration and an unfulfilled life. I’ve never been a patient person but have come to find that if I enjoy each small achievement instead of rushing to the finish line or the big “payoff” I can appreciate all the great things along the way and life becomes much more fulfilling and enjoyable.
  5. Enjoy the JourneyI quickly learned not focus on some future experience that may or may not happen, but to enjoy and learn from each step of the journey. First of all, I had no idea when I would test for my black belt as it not determined by a date, but is assessed by your ability to perform the required TaeKwon Do patterns and self-defense techniques as well as acquiring the knowledge of the history of martial arts. So learning is where I put my focus. I never once said to myself, “I will be happy when I get my black belt” but rather, “I will enjoy the journey while I pursue my goal.”
  6. Never Give Up – If it’s something that you really want, don’t back down or give up even if it seems the odds are stacked against you. The most difficult goals can be achieved with an unrelenting spirit. This is where many times I had to push through and test the limits of what I thought was possible for me and my life. But I came out on the other side more confident, self-assured, and mentally strong, and I now believe in myself and my abilities to achieve things I once thought were impossible.
  7. Recognize Your Strengths – Going into the class I had a lot of self-doubts, and if you asked me then, I would have said I didn’t have any strengths. However now, not only do I recognize them, but I have been able to capitalize on them. I discovered I was very flexible which made me a great kicker, and as I continued to train outside the class, my physical strength developed as did my endurance. But I think the most surprising attribute I discovered was my ability to connect with and teach the junior belts, and I now look forward to starting my own women’s empowerment classes in the future.
  8. Challenge Myself – One of the first important lessons I learned which has since served me well in my life, is not to compete with or compare myself to others. We all have different skills and are strong in some areas and weaker in others. Instead I vowed to continually become a better version of myself. Every week I challenged myself to be a little better and to never stop learning and growing and reaching for higher levels of achievement.
  9. Trust The ProcessThis was another hard on for me as I’ve always prided myself on being independent and self-sufficient, and foolishly believed I could do most things better than others. I think this stemmed from my severe trust and vulnerability issues. So in the beginning, I was totally out of my comfort zone because I knew nothing about the class and therefore had little control of how things were going to unfold. But gradually I learned to let go and trust the process and things flowed a lot more smoothly. I also learned to let down my guard and ask for help when needed, and from there I advanced a lot quicker towards each belt level.
  10. Believe Change Is PossibleAs I look back, I realize I don’t have to accept the status quo, or a life of mediocrity, because with the right knowledge, guidance, and support I can let go of what is no longer serving me, overcome my challenges, and grow and succeed in amazing ways. As long as you are willing to change and grow, and put in the time and effort, you will rise above ordinary and enjoy life’s extraordinary experiences.

Now ask yourself: “What is something I’d love to do, become, or achieve?”

If you’ve had long-standing goals but feel like there is something blocking you from achieving them, I can help! I offer many Services to help you develop confidence and believe in yourself and your abilities, so you can achieve things you once thought impossible.