My Ultimate Black Belt Test Goals, in Part
I am not only the team coach for The Ultimate Black Belt Coach, I'm the designer of the program, AND I use each yearlong test to work on my own black belt goals. This reminds me of a conversation I had, many years ago, with martial arts icon Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee. I had asked him about something, I don't remember what it was, but his response was memorable:
He said, "Tom, whatever you do it should be measured by this: It should be good for you, it should be good for your students and community, and it should be good for the world. If you follow those general guidelines, it's hard to go wrong."
Well, the Ultimate Black Belt Test is definitely good for me. It brings new members to my consulting program, THE COMMUNITY, which gives me a far better chance of making a positive impact on their work. The UBBT helps me as a martial artist, as it refreshes my own efforts as an athlete and practitioner, as I want to set a good example for those on the team. And each UBBT helps me to set or re-set goals I have --it keeps my work moving forward and causes me to look deeply at what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, and what I might change if I desire different results than I'm getting.
My most important goal for my own personal Ultimate Black Belt Test is to encourage, if not downright demand / lead / push and pull, every participating member ---to do things that are important to them, important to their students and community, and if lucky, important to the world in general.
I want UBBT members to embrace educational projects, to think about sustainability and compassion and peace and violence, and to engage their communities in unconventional and uncommon ways. I want their work, overall, to esteem the martial art community. It's my ambition to see each member improve their game, learn new skills, and to feel that they used this program as a laboratory of creation and growth.
For the record, here are two of the journal entries from members over the last week:
Martial arts back ground: Tamara Leonard is a Black Belt in Kenpo Karate under master instructor Joe Stronsick. Tamara also trains jiu jitsu, holds rank of purple belt and actively competes. She is also an Apprentice Instructor in the Israeli Krav International (IKI) Krav Maga affiliation under founder Moshe Katz. Tamara teaches martial arts and fitness kickboxing classes at Adventure Mixed Martial Arts in Parma, Ohio. She also runs a thriving nutrition and wellness coaching business through the center.
Academic Background: Tamara Leonard holds an undergraduate degree from Baldwin Wallace University as a psychology major (Bachelor’s of Science). She also has a Master’s in Education (M.Ed). and Educational Specialists Degree (Ed.S) from Kent State University. Tamara is a licensed school psychologist. Tamara has also undergone the coursework to be a Certified Wellness Coach, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach, and MMACA Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Ryan McGill is in the process of developing his own brand of martial arts academy after more than 30 years of practice and study of the arts. He's a change-maker committed to social justice and leadership training. Here's his latest UBBT journal entry.