When new students begin Kung Fu, they often ask about the belt classifications from white to black. (In Kung Fu, we use sashes.) I had never been too concerned with sashes as an indicator of either my expertise or lack. The sash shows some level of progress in the martial artist’s Kung Fu journey, I know my journey is never ending.
When the latest new students asked me about my black sash, I realized that I am proud of my black sash because on it, I see the faces of all the people I worked with getting it, the people who have trained with me, even for a short time. I think of my teacher and my teacher’s teacher. I just had a great conversation with a former student who had to stop at earning a Green Sash with me (she still trains); she is part of my Kung Fu journey. In the new Karate Kid movie, the character Han says the goal of Kung Fu is to make enemies friends. My black belt symbolizes how many friends and family Kung Fu has made for me. We reach Kung Fu’s goal just by training, just by teaching, and just by learning. If everyone trained, maybe the world would be more peaceful.