No doubt last night was exciting and emotional. Last night, after 18 months of hard work, I received my Black Belt. What a journey!?! and it's only just begun.
In late August of 2008, I walked into the Tallahassee TaeKwonDo Academy with a dream. This dream is to one day become a full-time academy owner. But there are steps that must take place before the dream can happen. Last night was the start.
In mid-September, I tested for yellow belt. It was then that my friend, Georgia, and I made the committment to acheive Black Belt together. I wanted to honor that committment at whatever cost. Through her knee surgery, and my pain...through doubt, fatigue, frustration, and the slight desire to give up sometimes...last night was the fruition of that committment. We made Black Belt together.
There were a couple of time when my committment to Georgia was challenged, and I had to make a decision in my heart of whether or not I would honor it, regardless of the cost. Some thought that my decision was foolish, but I refused to waiver. It was too important to me.
Whoever said that overweight people can't do sports is a liar!!! I'm living proof! Don't get me wrong, there were many precautions to take, and conversations with doctors and instructors that should be taken. However, it is possible.
Many changes have taken place since I started in TaeKwonDo. I've learned a lot about myself. But none more important than this: becoming a black belt is very significant. It marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. But a Black belt without character is worthless. Without the constant practice of honor, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-contol, courage, community, strength, humility and knowledge...the belt becomes nothing more than an accessory.
To be in a position where people look to you for guidance and inspiration is incredibly humbling. I hope that when I have my testing/demonstration for my 6th degree Master (many years down the road) - that I will remember this moment...this journey. To always be mindful of the struggles along the way, the encouragement needed to keep going. That for me, it's not about the belt color, or how many gold bars there are...we all started from the beginning, and over time with committment, we can acheive whatever goals we've set.
I never want my belt to be just an accessory. I want to live a life worth of the calling. I will continue to run with perseverance this race marked out for me, and to throw off EVERYTHING that holds me back.