Getting a Black Belt
Before I commenced my current dojo; Northstar, I was employed full time and also ran a dojo called Fight Club, and you probably guessed right as it seemed to attract only fit men between the ages of 17 and 25. It was a fighting dojo and reflected the stage that I was at with my martial arts journey. That is, full of ego and wanting to prove myself. The classes revolved around a tough, aggressive work out and sparring was a highlight. It was no wonder injuries were prevalent and the dropout rate high. This form of martial art was only suitable for the super fit and strong.
As I evolved I realized that the martial arts to survive needs to be available to everyone to find their black belt with in, regardless of their gender, fitness level, and age. I decided that as-long as the student could lift themselves out of bed in the morning, they could try our basic, beginner level class. Then, through a carefully graded structure and syllabus that also improves fitness and well-being, the student can go beyond limitations and reach targets previously thought out of reach.
This does not mean that the path is easy, on the contrary once the student gets through the first 3to 6 months, they tend to crave a new level of intensity. By the time they get up to the higher belts, they are just as fit and technically sound as any person that I have graded to black belt. The only difference is they are not athletically gifted, they generally do not fit the mold of what the general public perceive a black belt to be like, and they are not fighters.
They strive to be the best they can be and set the bar high. Most demonstrate an incredible will to not only survive but beat all expectations. The view that the student going for black belt must almost border on being super human would mean that it remains an institution only accessible by people that complete a test similar to a warrior attempting to join the SAS or similar. And in that process the ordinary person would never get to test the limits, their courage and their spirit.
The Northstar Black Belt is there for anybody that sets their body, mind and spirit on achieving it. Over the last 10 years I have graded young fit athletes, middle aged men and women, small, large, tall and short and most were just unassuming normal people that dug deep, really deep to satisfy the requirements according to their limitations to pass the Northstar Jujitsu black belt test.
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