Black Belt: Finale or Beginning of the Path?

Black Belt: Finale or Beginning of the Path?

For many, the goal and dream of martial arts training is to obtain a black belt. Someone thinks that the rank test for black belt is the end of his studies. As if this is a peak, beyond which there is nothing. Is it so? Or is the path in martial arts just beginning with the receipt of a black belt? Today we will try to answer these questions and tell you what is behind this peak, which everyone dreams of.

Applied Aikido Belts

In one of the previous articles, we have already talked about ranks and belts in martial arts in general and belts in Applied Aikido in particular. But we will remind you that training begins with a white belt, which can be worn from the very first training session, or more precisely, from the moment you purchase a kimono. We wrote about when to worry about buying a gi in the article Form for Aikido: when to buy a kimono.

But in order to obtain all subsequent belts, it is necessary to pass rank test in compliance with all time periods. Applied Aikido has tests for the following belts:

  • yellow;
  • orange;
  • green;
  • blue;
  • brown;
  • black from 1 Dan and above.

Each of the belts has its own program, which includes a specific list of techniques. And each new belt, in fact, is a continuation of the previous one.

Initially, the student must show an understanding of the principles and movement. As you move from belt to belt, the tasks become more difficult:

  • dynamics changes in the direction of acceleration;
  • the distance of work is reduced;
  • attacks become more complicated and quicker;
  • new techniques are added, the basic principles of which can be found in previous examination programs.

Thus, each subsequent belt is an evolution of the previous ones and is built on their basis, as on a foundation. And the stronger the foundation, the more reliable the whole structure.

Black Belt – Time to Debrief

For many, the initial and for some time the main motivation for practicing martial arts is to get a black belt. Undoubtedly, this is a kind of Rubicon that each student passes. Or just what it gets. Or it doesn’t.

A black belt is not just a piece of cloth:

  • it is a huge job and constant improvement of their qualifications;
  • it is learning and honing techniques;
  • it is striving and overcoming oneself, circumstances, fatigue and laziness;
  • it is a self-improvement process that can take years.

Thus, it is not entirely correct to see a black belt as a reward for length of service. It is rather a symbol of painstaking and hard work.

The 1 Dan black belt test is undoubtedly a definite summing up of the work done. And there is no difference, it will be test for a child or adult program. Recall that in the International Federation of Applied Aikido there is a clear division of children’s and adult programs, depending on the age of the student. More details on this topic can be found in the article Features and differences between adult and children’s training in Applied Aikido.

The Black Belt is the result of many years of work. In order to qualify for the high title of Master of Applied Aikido, you must walk a path of at least 6-7 years. It all depends on the regularity and intensity of training.

The Children’s Black Belt program is a demonstration of the techniques of all previous assessments. But it requires serious preparation and maximum return, in particular:

  • significantly higher speed;
  • very high reaction to attack;
  • technical accuracy of the execution of techniques.

The last point is especially important, because clarity testifies to an understanding of the principles inherent in technology.

The 1 Dan black belt adult test program is a cross-section of both the adult and children’s program. It is divided into blocks by attacks and makes it possible to demonstrate a wide range of skills and techniques:

  • different principles;
  • different entrances;
  • different attacks.

All this is aimed at showing all the principles and basic techniques of Applied Aikido in the test.

The beginning of the path of self-improvement

What to do with the received black belt depends on each individual person and their aspirations, as well as their readiness to develop further. The situation is simpler with children who are owners of 1 Dan in the children’s program. They begin to study the adult program. We have already written that there are many intersections in them, but no less differences. Thus, children begin to learn new principles for them. The situation with adults is somewhat different.

In one of the previous articles, we talked about what the colors of the belts symbolize and that the black belt is the unification of all the previous ones.

In fact, with the receipt of a black belt, a “new day” begins and a new stage, when the base has already been laid and then it can and should be polished. These are the first fruits and conclusions that actually accompany aikido students throughout the entire learning process. These are the sprouts of new knowledge and skills that continue to break through. It is a depth and deep integration into the very essence of the student.

Indeed, in the process of training, a lot changes:

  • gait;
  • posture;
  • the muscle frame is strengthened;
  • muscle tone is maintained;
  • the reaction speed increases and much more.

Thus, the impact of training on the human body is comprehensive. And then, based on this base, you can move in any direction:

  • deepen and expand knowledge in Applied Aikido;
  • discover new facets of martial arts and self-improvement in other styles;
  • finish training and hang the belt “on the nail”.

Which path to choose is a personal matter. Someone stops at this stage and devotes themselves to some other areas of life, with the words that “the peak has been reached and there is no point in moving further”. Someone, on the contrary, discovers an “unplowed field of work”.

And in the case of further movement, you can choose three ways:

  • improve existing;
  • learn new things;
  • combine the first two options.

Undoubtedly, there are those who believe that everything has been studied and that you can devote yourself to learning something new. Someone goes into other martial arts, sometimes very similar, sometimes completely different from the studied one. Thus, trying to develop yourself in different areas and aspects.

Someone adds new knowledge to the existing base and tries to combine styles and directions, to look for their own individual direction of movement, in which one can move somewhere from the knowledge gained, and somewhere to supplement it. And someone just wants to pick up details and nuances from everywhere, using them in their work.

Any of these options has the right to life and everyone chooses the path along which he wants to go. But we sincerely believe that Seneca’s phrase “Who is everywhere is nowhere” reflects this question most deeply.

Therefore, for ourselves, we have chosen the path of maximum improvement in the very discipline that we are engaged in. Thorough study of the techniques and principles of Applied Aikido. Deepening and expanding knowledge in this area. Hone the technique of increasing the level of work in all aspects:

  • definition;
  • dynamics;
  • speed reaction;
  • plastic;
  • flexibility.

An endless path of self-improvement, which opens up new and new facets. Applied Aikido is a young and dynamically developing area. Our founder, Radoica Spasovich, is constantly honing his skills and continuing to develop his style. Techniques evolve, details and nuances are added. And even the simplest, basic techniques need to be polished, improving the quality of performance.

Each new partner on the tatami is a new experience. Every next day is a new experience. Each next workout is a new experience. And it is in this honing of skill that we see the movement forward.

Coaching activities

Another extremely interesting development path is coaching. A little higher, we already talked about the fact that children with a black belt begin to study the adult program. Adults, in turn, can also study the nursery. It may seem simpler and less sophisticated. But, at the same time, the children’s program is the quintessence of the principles of influence.

Children’s training in Applied Aikido makes it possible to master the basics, but at the same time the most effective techniques, which include all the main methods of influencing the enemy.

Yes, they may look simple. Yes, many of them are short. Surely most of the techniques seem simple. But it is simplicity that gives efficiency. And adults who begin to study the children’s program supplement their arsenal with a number of techniques, which contain all the basic principles.

Thus, the picture becomes a little wider and makes it possible to see more options, within the framework of the previously acquired knowledge. For example, initially apply more complex techniques from simple grips. This is on the one hand.

On the other hand, the constant process of accumulating knowledge has its limitations if this knowledge is not shared. After all, it is when you try to transfer knowledge and teach someone, surprisingly enough, and you yourself understand deeper what you are doing.

Teaching further develops awareness. What seems self-explanatory and self-evident can cause confusion or misunderstanding among others:

  • learning yourself is half the battle;
  • to transfer knowledge and teach another is the second half, without which learning cannot be called a whole.

And, like water that cannot stagnate and must flow, so knowledge must be transferred in order to return and discover new moments and new details.

This is also the path of self-improvement – learning to teach. And we devote a serious part of our attention and time to this. After all, mastering the program of a certain belt is one conversation. But teaching someone is completely different. After all, then in the belt of another person there is also your work.

And the more people you pass on your knowledge, the more thoroughly you polish your technique, going through it again and again, having the opportunity to look at it from two sides:

  • from the point of view of the teacher;
  • from the point of view of the student.

This principle of two-way interaction is fundamental in martial arts. It is impossible to know a technique thoroughly if you only perform it, but do not let it be performed on yourself. It is impossible to understand it deeply enough if you have not tried to teach anyone. And each time you look at it with different eyes, opening it like a new one with each new student.

Therefore, in our Club, great attention is paid to the preparation of the coaching and teaching staff. We want our students and pupils to share knowledge, pass it on and cultivate it. Developed and developed. And one day they became equal with us. And then they surpassed us. We ourselves also learn from our pupils. And this gives us the opportunity to move forward and continue our own development. What, in fact, is the main principle – constant movement and self-improvement.

If you want to join us, we will be glad to see you in our training and together again and again discover the world of Applied Aikido. Detailed schedule and contacts can be found here.