Each of the three brown belts in our ranking system is an invitation to black belt. These high ranks hold a lot of responsibility.
Maybe the most obvious responsibility for brown belts and above in both the Kids and Adults program is remembering a lot of katas and complexes. To remember them and keep them sharp, we must practice on our own regularly.
Another important responsibility is taking class at least twice a week. For adults there is also helping to teach at least once a week –giving back to the dojo that has given us so much. Our own training is very important – not just to improve and get to the next level.
Advanced students set the standard for how good a kata or complex should be. And advanced student’s kata should be excellent – it should have focus, power, snap. It should show the expertise learned over the years.
In our traditional art, technique and kata are important, but character is even more important. For high rank students that means acting and speaking with respect to instructors and lower ranks alike. It means setting a good example for lower ranks and younger people, not just by doing great in class, but by following the rules and leading by example. Character is shown not only by how you act at the dojo, but it is apparent in all of your actions wherever you go, even if nobody from your dojo is there.
These things apply to our students of every rank, and the responsibility gets higher as the rank goes up.
It can take nearly two years to get to black belt once you have earned your initial brown belt. That can be an arduous time, and like any area in life it will have its peaks (high points) and valleys (hard times when you wonder if it’s worth it.) Remember what Newland Renshi says, “It’s in the valleys that the flowers grow.” And yes, it is definitely worth it. It is worth every drop of sweat, every tear, every dollar, every bruise, every ounce of effort and then some. You get back so much more than you put in to your Karate.