A Parents View of the Journey to Junior Black Belt We asked the parents of one of our junior students about their child’s journey to Black Belt and training at MAC. Here are the words she came up with. He’s standing by the mat looking nervous and keeps reaching out to squeeze my hand. He wants his black belt so much, he tells me he’s worried he’ll get the drills wrong or forget something. I tell him not to worry because I know he is already a black belt. The last four years have shaped him into an incredible person; he has beautiful manners and is bursting with confidence. He shows empathy towards other people and always does the right thing. He shows determination and strength in the face of challenge and now he is about to see the reward for his dedication and hard work. For me as a parent watching my child go from white belt to black belt hasn’t been about the development of physical skill, it’s the growth of the characteristics that underline the meaning of that belt. ConfidenceWhen we first took him along we weren’t sure we’d made the right decision, he cried with nerves and wouldn’t really speak to anyone. By the time he’d earned that first belt we were already seeing changes in him, from saying good morning to teachers instead of hiding and joining in on the mat. Martial Art has helped him to believe in himself by getting praise and encouragement, achieving things he once found difficult and pushing his own limits. FriendshipHe found making friends difficult when he started school, being so shy and not into sports such as football. He has made his journey to black belt along side a group of children who have had similar struggles to him and formed strong friendships in the academy. As his confidence has grown so has his personality and he finds making friends a lot easier. Perseverance and ChallengeIn a digital world where video games make everything possible at the touch of a button, overcoming challenge is increasingly difficult for children. Having something he has to try hard at again and again before actually achieving it has built up the skills he needs both in and out of school. From learning times tables to complicated drills, he keeps on trying and the look on his face when he achieves it is priceless. DisciplineFrom the very first day at MAC it was explained to him that the black belt spirit isn’t just in the academy, it’s at home, at school and where ever he goes. He has learnt a strong sense of right and wrong during his training and knows that to be a black belt he has to try hard and do the right thing in all areas. No child is perfect but as a parent having that extra support has been essential in ensuring he turns out the way you hope your children will. He has plenty of positive role models to look up to and he has turned into a fantastic one himself. Self DefenceWhen a child at school tried to hurt him we were called in to speak to the teacher who told us that he was a credit to us and his Martial Art school in that he refused to fight the boy in question and dealt with the incident with a huge amount of maturity beyond his age. Someone asked me the other day if that’s it now he’s a black belt, is he done? I told them the black belt is just the beginning. In my opinion white belt to black belt is all about laying the foundations above so that he has all the attributes he needs to be an incredible martial artist and person. Resilience, Persistence, Confidence, Honestly, Humility, Focus, Integrity, Commitment, Friendship, Gratitude, Discipline. They say it takes a village to raise a child and for me Martial Art has provided that village. I’m so proud of him and all that he’s achieved on his journey to black belt. I look forward to all that comes next.