FIRST DEGREE -
This article was found on a Shihan Ryu Web site.
One of the greatest misconceptions within the martial arts is the notion that all black belts are experts. It is understandable that those unacquainted with the martial arts might make this equation; however, students should certainly recognize this is always not the case. Too often, novice black belts advertise themselves as experts and eventually even convince themselves.
The first degree black belt has usually learned enough technique to adequately defend himself against a single opponent. He can be compared to a fledgling who has acquired enough feathers to leave the nest and fend for himself. The first degree is a starting point. The student has merely built a foundation the job of building the house lies ahead.
The novice black belt will now really begin to learn technique.
Now that he has mastered the alphabet, he can begin to consider himself an instructor and expert. A perceptive student will, at this stage, suddenly realize how very little he knows. The black belt also enters a new era of responsibility. Though a freshman, he has entered an honorable fraternity of more than 500,000 strong; and his actions inside and outside the training hall will be carefully scrutinized. His conduct will reflect on all black belts and he must constantly strive to set an example for all grade holders. Some will certainly advance into the expert stages; however, far too many will believe the misconception and will always remain a novice, mentally and physically.