Most people probably consider that some level of black belt is the hardest rank to achieve in martial arts. While first degree black belt and beyond are difficult to gain, in my opinion they are not the hardest ranks. For most people, the hardest is white belt. It takes many of us years and even decades, as well as a great deal of motivation and courage, to make the commitment to start martial arts training and gain our white belt. For me, it took nearly 45 years. For some it takes even longer. For one woman in our school for example, it took her 72 years!
So why did it take me so long to earn my white belt? I had been interested in martial arts for many years. I tried two different styles before finally committing to Kuk Sool Won™. In my early 20s I tried a popular style of martial arts. I recall finding a place amongst the large number of students and doing my best to copy. No one from the school talked to me or helped me and I didn’t have any one-on-one instruction. It was a rather intimidating and demoralising experience. After two classes I decided not to join the club. In my early 30s I tried a different martial art. It was a small club but I had a similar experience. These experiences really put me off martial arts.
It was not until I was in my forties that I stumbled across a martial arts school that was very welcoming towards new students and where I felt comfortable and safe as a beginner. It took me over four decades of life experience to finally earn my white belt. By comparison, the four years or so it takes to get to black belt is relatively quick and easy.
If you are currently a white belt, wear it proudly. You have truly earned it. If you have always wanted to try a martial art, but are not sure where to start, check out our blog on how to find a good martial arts school.
JKN Jane Hurst
First degree black belt and school owner
Kuk Sool Won™ of Onewhero
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Caroline is a 5th degree black belt and Jane is a 2nd degree black belt in the traditional Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won™ . They run 2 Kuk Sool Won™ martial arts schools in New Zealand.