Sunday, May 13, 2012

Black Belt

I've been training in Tae-Kwon-Do for almost 4 years now.  For the past 18 months I've been actively pursuing my Black Belt.  It has been a long, hard, physically brutal but rewarding time for me.  What people see during the Black Belt test is the physical training that goes into earning a belt - the push ups, crunches, weapons forms, forms, self-defense, sparring and other physical pieces of being a Black Belt.  What they don't see during a test is the extremely emotional journey each candidate endures throughout this process. They don't see the extraordinary camaraderie, the deep friendships or the personal growth each candidate receives by pursuing this goal or the soul searching, insecurity and fears each candidate must get past in order to achieve this goal.  

This has been a huge part of my life for so long and since this blog is about my art AND my life, I'd like to share with you the first part of my Black Belt acceptance speech and the closing section (the center parts were sincere thanks to the many people who helped me achieve my goal).  I hope it conveys to you just how proud I am to have achieved this goal and how life changing the act of pursuing it has been for me.  

"In my life I have three things that keep me balanced – my family, martial arts and my creative side.  Many of you have probably heard me say that martial arts is my stress relief but really its more than that, it is an integral part of who I am.  I’ve put literally hundreds of hours of training into getting my black belt and while I am incredibly proud of this achievement and have worked harder at this than anything else in my life apart from raising my family, in a certain sense my belt level will never matter.  What you get from achieving your goals isn’t nearly as important as who you become by achieving your goals.  The amount of work I have put into this will never come close to what I have received back from this journey.  Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself and I am so proud to be standing before you today as something new – a black belt. 

I sat on the sidelines watching my kids for a couple of years before I started class.  If you are sitting there wondering if you could do this, all I can say is that there is no more unlikely Black Belt candidate than I have been.  The first athletic thing I ever did in my life was when I walked through the dojo doors at the age of 37.  The hardest part is having the courage to imagine a whole new path in your life.  A black belt is a white belt who never gave up and I am a girl who would not quit."

While Martial Arts might not be everyone's cup of tea I think the biggest lesson I took to heart is the power of imagining a new path in your life.  I hope my story gives someone out there the courage and strength to try a new path - even if it seems crazy and improbable.  The most incredible things happen when you let go of your fears and just TRY.

Wishing you all an amazing Mother's Day!



Haley D. said...

Congratulations, Paige! What a well-deserved honor! Your hard work and perseverence have really paid off. Keep up the great work!

Scrap n Yap with Carolyn said...

Congratulations! You not only inspire us with your art, but now with your achivement in Martial Arts. Way to Go!

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