"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
It's been a long road ...
Over six years, many belts, a couple of uniform changes, 2 pairs of sparring booties, and a small fortune going to Yoyo Berri (frozen yoghurt establishment conveniently located next door to martial arts studio) for celebratory treats ... hours for me sitting on what I call "the waffle iron" but my backside surely knows as "the rack" ... countless trips to class and tournaments schlepping giant equipment bag along with bo staff, nuchaku (nunchuks), sinawali (double sticks), wooden sword and foam sword (we have a small arsenal of hard and soft weapons) ... essays, book reports (I ask you, would YOU want to read a 2000 word essay by a 10 year old? What Black Belt means to me) and checklists completed ... push ups, sit ups, jumping rope (and I started running in anticipation of the 2 mile run only to have them drop that requirement once I was hooked back into running!) ... sizeable dent to my bank account ... and I know you are wondering: Was it worth it?
For the smile on that face? For the confidence, swagger, intensity, focus, and pride in her achievement?
In the years of preparation, I've picked up a few things while sitting on the bench (a.k.a. Waffle Iron): besides choke hold, windpipe chop, horse bite (grab your attacker by the forearm sleeves and jerk down), ear muffs (smack both your hands into their ears, then pull their head down into your upwardly moving knee) I've learned ...
Winning Black Belts know who they are and where they are going. They understand themselves and their goals.
Winning Black Belts keep an overall attitude of optimism and enthusiasm. Winners understand that life is a self fulfilling prophecy - a person usually gets what he or she actively expects over the long run.
Winning Black Belts have the ability to accomplish anything they want to achieve. Winners understand that a strong belief in themselves and hard work will result in achieving their goals.
Winning Black Belts commit to their dreams and goals and work diligently to achieve them. Winners make a pledge to devote their energies to the successful realization of their goals.
It was a very good day for all. It was an important reminder that a strong belief in yourself is the foundation, but relying upon a host of teachers, friends, and family to encourage, support and sustain you is also required. The hardest thing for this independent girl - and a lesson for me - is acknowledging the need for assistance. In the end, that may be the most important lesson of them all.
"Most humbling of all is to comprehend the lifesaving gift that your pit crew of people has been for you, and all the experiences you have shared, the journeys together, the collaborations ... the solidarity you have shown one another. Every so often you realize that without all of them, your life would be barren and pathetic. It would be Death of a Salesman, though with e-mail and texting."
- Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers