Requirements for The Ultimate Black Belt Test 2018. Part 1
About requirements; let's begin with what the UBBT 2018 can't be.
It can't be a black belt test --or any kind of journey --that is "business as usual." It can't be a ho-hum affair where you start with all kinds of enthusiasm and lofty goals --that just fizzle out and die due to not applying yourself with the kind of effort real transformation might require.
It can't be a test that doesn't include unique and telling self-imposed requirements. The UBBT has to stand for what is unusual, what is unique, what is important to others, what is creative, what is difficult to do, what is not just another self-congratulatory bullsh** event of physical effort, without genuine effort applied to the mental, spiritual, and socially important POTENTIAL the project has.
The UBBT can't be you coming to the end of the year out of shape and making excuses for why you couldn't find the time or wherewithal to control your food intake, do cardio and strength training --and treat your precious year like you were preparing for the Olympics.
The UBBT can't be a year of you doing little or nothing to re-educate yourself, to trying new things, of seeking to create one or more projects that reflect the potential we have as change-makers and masters of our work.
The UBBT cannot end up being you mad at me and/or the world, because you didn't get the love and support you think you needed to excel. It can't end up having you adopting an attitude of self-justification for why you didn't journal, why you didn't step up your training, why you didn't embrace your teammates, regardless of where they reside, why you didn't radically change your diet, why you didn't show up for events, why you didn't read and study, or why you didn't hold yourself accountable to something that was supposed to represent our work in the most honorable and complimentary light.
In the UBBT, just like in the martial arts journey of any student you will ever have the privilege to teach, every requirement is flexible, malleable --and not meant to discourage, but to challenge and illicit some kind of growth. That means that if you set out with a PLAN A in mind and something isn't working for you, you immediately go to PLAN B. There is always a way when you are truly committed. What you don't do is quit, give up, throw your hands in the air, disconnect, blame, scapegoat, or otherwise wiggle your way out of getting to the end of the project without your head held high, with a remarkable set of accomplishments under your belt, and having shown your students, your community, and the martial arts community what you're really made of on the inside.
The UBBT is just 365 days of habitual action. Better, smarter, and more consistent exercise, 1000 or so meals where you stop and think about what you're eating and why. It's 365 days of you working to craft a WOW project with the help of people in your sphere of influence. It's 52 public journal entries where you seek to find the words and images to express the best of the best we can be as teachers of the martial arts, as citizen-teachers. It's you taking a year to finally learn about meditation --and how to practice and teach it. It's 365 days of you doing 3 simple and purposeful acts of kindness per day. It's 365 days of you saying to yourself,
"If the world was watching me and IF it were up to me to show the world what a martial arts master teacher is, what he or she does for self and others, how would I behave; what could I do to show that this training is about something more than kicking and punching?"
It's 365 days out of many thousands in your life where you seek out living heroes, where you seek to expand your knowledge and experience, and where, of all the years in your life, you seek to come together with a group of others and try, succeed or fail, to make a difference in the lives of many, many thousands of people who might just tune in to your/our work. It's just 365 days of you falling flat on your face every single (expletive deleted) day --and then picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and getting back to the challenges and work at hand.
The UBBT can't be some crappy little scam where I charge you to participate and you do little or nothing. The UBBT can't be you just falling off the face of the earth with some excuse for your disconnection. The UBBT can't be something you join because it sounds "cool," and which you then treat like nothing important or worth sticking to. The UBBT is absolutely NOTHING, it has absolutely no value, if YOU don't apply yourself to it in a way that your students can look at --and realize you are truly and without question an extraordinary human being. If you can't do this, succeed or fail, with your heart and soul, then the UBBT is not a project you should participate in.
You don't have to be Bruce Lee to engage the UBBT. But you do have to be a leader, a stubborn and determined man or woman, and someone who is willing to empty his or her cup --and go to work on becoming a better martial artist and a more actualized human being.