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  • Foto do escritorPedro Tânger

Being a black belt in Life

On June 21st, 2022, I was invited by Ms Jaime Freeman to judge, via zoom, a black belt testing at Martial Arts Academy Prague, in the the Czech Republic. At the end, I asked them their view of their own testing and then I shared some words about being a black belt.

And here I share them with you.

"Hello Everyone,

I am very honored to have been invited to judge this testing and I will tell you why.

I started martial arts when I was 16 years old. Not very young but not very old. I was mature enough to know that it was something that I wanted for myself so I didn’t do it to please anyone. I did it because I wanted to.

And what did I want? I wanted to feel confident and safe. I wanted to feel like I could defend myself and that I was not a victim but rather someone who could trust himself if needed - that is what confidence is all about - . The reason for that is that I was rather weak physically at the time and I was often the target for robbers in the street. In one event, I even got pushed around and beat up by 5 guys just because one of them wanted to teach me a lesson. He didn’t teach me anything but life did.

So I can say I felt pretty fragile and vulnerable and I knew that was not the way I wanted to go through life so I had to do something about it.

The truth is that I found that very quickly. I knew I was in the right place since the first class and I knew I belonged there after the second class because the instructor knew my name.

So I kept training until my sense of confidence was established. I understood that I had that sense of confidence when a robber once approached me in the street trying to rob my discman and I just looked at him and instead of feeling afraid, i felt calm. So I simply pushed him aside and told him to get out of my way and that what he was doing was absurd.

What had happened only sunk in moments later and that’s when i understood that my first reason to start martial arts was resolved.

So why continue?

And this is what leads to us here today and now.

I continued training because I understood something deeply moving for me. I understood that training martial arts was a never ending process. That there is always another door to open, another challenge to accept, another lesson to learn.

In simple words, I understood that martial arts made me grow as a person in all dimensions of my life and the more I grew, the more the martial art grew with me.

And one of the most important growths was becoming someone who could be in a position to facilitate that growth in others. Seeing others be that same person I was when I started and helping them reach their goals is one of the most privileged positions in life.

and it’s a lot of responsibility too because you need to be accountable and you need to keep working on yourself. Permanently.

and this is when it comes down to you.

everything that I said about myself, you could say too.

You too have started for some reason and accomplished that need quite early in your path.

you too had to redefine goals and seek the true reason why you were still training.

you too understood that this was not a single goal road, this was a path.

you too pushed yourself to new levels of performance but also new levels of emotion and new levels of mindset.

you too had to overcome judgement and limitations.

you too had to prove to yourself and to others that you were able to do impossible things.

you too learned some hard lessons in the way

you too had some disappointments along the road.

but you too understood that all of that was part of the path, of your path. Of your growth as a martial artist but mostly as a person.

So, now you know why it’s an honor for me to be here today. Not only because I saw you test - which you did very well - but also because I got to see you become what you want to become and who you want to become. Because when I see you, i see people who are trying to be their better selves and who are bringing hope to those around them.

see, you are living inspiration for so many because of achievements like this.

so, to end these words, i would like to congratulate you in you testing and congratulate also Ms Freeman for being the living example and the inspiration for you too.

on my behalf, thank you for pushing yourselves and living like true black belts!"

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