It's time I took the time to provide a little colour to our tag-line and value statement "Inspired fitness. Black belt life." Coming from the corporate world, I am somewhat indoctrinated with the importance of Mission, Vision, and Value statements for large companies. With our small dojo and clear purpose, I am willing to pass on mission and vision for now, but the value statement can not be passed. Those who've seen earlier versions of our website, and even some of our very limited marketing media, may recall material with descriptors including, among others: fitness, fun, and self defence. While these are all true, they do not capture the essence of what I hope students gain from White Heron Martial Arts.
Karate is both a gateway and a path: a gateway to fitness and self defence, a path to achieving much more. For those who want vigorous exercise, to punch, kick, and get in great shape, karate provides this fitness. Some attend classes for this alone, and that is great. Some train in karate solely for the love of kata. For others who want the confidence of knowing they can competently defend themselves or their loved ones, karate teaches self defence. These are all excellent reasons to train in karate. For some, that is all they want, and that is fantastic.
Those who continue on the path can achieve so much more. Reduced stress, increased focus, discipline, strength of character, and ultimately glimpses of alignment of mind, body and spirit can be achieved. These permeate all aspects of life: career, relationships, longevity and happiness to name a few. This is where the magic lives.
A black belt in karate represents an individual has achieved a measure of excellence in this art. Beyond the martial arts, the black belt has been adapted as a symbol of excellence in various fields. It's symbolism is used broadly from industry and six sigma management techniques through to the arts, where some artisans describe themselves as having a black belt in painting.
From the outside looking in, a black belt is a universally recognized symbol of excellence. From the inside looking outward, those who achieve that measure of competence recognize there is always more to learn. Climbing one peak, one realizes they haven't scaled the mountain, but rather just reached a plateau from which a higher summit can now be seen. This is the black belt life.
To summarize a "Black belt life" by paraphrasing Vince Lombardi: it is the relentless pursuit of perfection, knowing full well perfection can never be achieved, because nothing is perfect. However, through persistence and drive along this path, excellence will be achieved.
Finally, we are all athletes by design. Our bodies are engineered to move. While the worst thing we can do is nothing, letting our body atrophy, the best we can do exercise with purpose. "Inspired fitness" means finding your passion and pursuing it. Live a life inspired.
Inspired fitness. Black belt life.