Becoming a white belt!

What does it entail and what should you expect?
Everyone has to start somewhere and every black belt you see started as a white belt. Starting as a white belt is the excitement phase – where everything is brand new to you and a challenge. It opens your mind and heart to learning something new, this is applicable to whether you are a child or adult starting out on your martial arts journey.

When you first start there are a lot of new techniques, a bit of Japanese and movements that your body probably isn’t use to. These are all things not to fear. As a white belt it does feel strange to you at first as everything is new to you. Remember we are all just white belts that didn’t give up.

Throughout my 25 years I can’t recall how many white belts I’ve actually taught (100s probably) and I will always remind myself and my instructors that we have to teach through white belt eyes – we all have to be great white belt coaches. I may have practiced a front kick more times than I can ever remember, but for you as a white belt it is all brand new… and for the rest of us we are only as good as our last class, repetitive training is necessary to get better and be confident in what we are doing.

To ensure everyone is where they are at for belt progression, we have something called progress tests. Over the 3 month period prior to belt progression, I like to see you pass your 1st progress test which consists of demonstrating your basic combination and Shukokai combination (this may sound scary but as a class you do it alongside everyone you train with). To qualify for progress test you have to have attended 8 classes. The 2nd progress test consists of your set self defence, kata and padwork section. The 3rd and final check is a week before grading and it allows you to run through everything prior to grading day. This not only allows the senseis to see where you are up to but also offers reassurance to yourself that you can do this and you are more ready for grading to yellow belt.

Whatever martial arts discipline you choose it’s an exceptional way to improve your concentration span and overall well being. We live in an age where we are so fully immersed in technology that we forget the outside world and the things that will benefit us greatly. Martial arts is great for escapism, stimulation and perseverance.

Remember it’s always a great honor and privilege to wear a belt around your waist, no matter the colour. Treat each and every belt with humility and curiosity.

Sensei Sara