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The Black Belt Test | Mission Blog

By Ev Eric

Photo: Camera Eye Photography

I was 19 years old, I took my first test for the rank of Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. The test is pretty basic: all of the forms, techniques, breaking things, and sparring both single and double opponents, all of which you are adequately trained for.

Then comes the real fun: the 3 on 1 sparring. The person being tested against 3 black belts. After which comes... the FOUR ON ONE!

This is something you never practice leading up to the test. You are unprepared for it beyond what your technique and stamina allow you. It's not a test: it's an initiation. You are not expected to win.

This is what working out and getting in shape is for many people. It's you against everything else.

  1. You are fighting cravings, you are fighting the comments from friends and family poking fun at your food and inadvertently discouraging you.
  2. You are fighting against your own habits of sitting and doing nothing.
  3. You are fighting against the commercials and brightly attractive packaging for processed empty-calorie foods on TV and in grocery stores. You 
  4. You are fighting against a society that doesn't believe out-of-shape people can turn their lives around 

None of these enemies believe you can win.

So, how did I pass my Black Belt test? I kept standing up. They knocked me down, and I stood back up, even when I didn't want to get up, because i knew that getting back up meant I was going to get hit or kicked right back down again. I also knew that I would pass my test if I just stood up.

What do you do when you can't handle it and grab that piece of chocolate? You get right back up. You give in to something you shouldn't? Don't quit, get up, and try again and FORGET ABOUT IT. Move on! SUCCEED! If you feel like quitting, talk to me, talk to your friends who are doing this with you. DON'T LET IT BEAT YOU.

Don't worry about where you think you should be by now. Don't worry about the place you were when you had a set back. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep getting up and keep moving forward. Remember the mountain and the treadmill.

You can do this!

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