This is testing week at ABD.
The students who are testing have dedicated themselves to a minimum of 16.5 hours (kids) and 22 hours (adults) over the last three months to prepare for this week. They will be tested on their knowledge and performance of Krav Maga self-defense techniques, Muay Thai strikes, sparring, mental discipline, and more.
If successful, they will earn their next belt. Belts are great sign-posts of your experience in martial arts and steps on the ladder to Black Belt. But I hope my students look at it another way.
Your new belt is a symbol of the acceptance of a new challenge. How many of us, as adults, readily seek out and look for new challenges? Be honest, most don't. We lounge in the comfort zone and recline in complacency. But accepting the challenge of a new belt is a strong example that you're not complacent or content; your vision is forward and upward.
Second, the belt symbolizes commitment. You have to attend a certain number of classes to qualify. You have to test four times during three months to prove your progress. You have to sweat, work, and endure. When challenges come (inside or outside the school), you commit to moving through or around them to achieve the goal. In short, new belts don't just happen. They are the result of committed work.
Last, the belt is proof - proof that you were equal to the task. It's evidence that you are more than you were before: more confident, more experienced. More accomplished. It's something you'll be able to look back on and say "Hey, if I could do that, I can do anything." This is literally the process of accumulating confidence through martial arts.
It's a big day, belt testing. Everyone feels the excitement and camaraderie. But there's far more to it than just the new fabric around your waist!
By Charlie McShane