We wanted to share the story of Morgan and her mom Brianna, and we are extremely grateful to them for allowing us to use their example for other students as they work to their Black Belt. Over our time in the Martial Arts, we have met all kinds of people, and their reason for taking Martial Arts. Most of the time they want to learn self control, focus, discipline and all of the above. This is the case of Morgan.
We have worked with Morgan for quite a while. She is a wonderful young girl with a great heart, lots of energy, and the most beautiful smile, but because of her high energy, it is hard for her to focus and concentrate, the reason why she originally joined our dojo. Martial Arts is well known for teaching others, specially children, how to re-direct their energies and do something more productive. The way this works is by giving them an outlet to use their energy, giving them a goal to work towards (their next belt) and giving them a reason to maintain their focus, not losing this reward.
In school, she had been involved in incidents that unfortunately had escalated, and although we knew deep down she did not want to behave this way, she knew not how to express herself differently. For a lot of us, even as adults, we have a hard time controlling emotions especially when someone is trying to hurt us physically and verbally.
Brianna’s concerns were directed towards helping Morgan find different ways to react when her emotions got the best of her. We thought it was important to work with both of them on understanding two things: one, their own kind of personalities, and two, the way in how these can affect other people.
Training at the beginning was rocky for Morgan. She had some good days and some days filled with poor choices. After a couple of months her training improved, and she was allowed to test for her yellow belt. In Martial Arts, training skill is rewarded with colored belts, usually starting from the clearest color, white, which symbolizes purity, and advancing progressively into Black Belt.
Morgan worked really hard as she got close to her test and achieved this first step towards becoming a Black Belt. Unfortunately, shortly after that, she was involved in another incident at school. Because of this she was forced to hand over her brand new belt. When this happens with our students we have them do a set of chores at home and school in order to get it back. This brings a new meaning to the phrase “being a Martial Artists” as it applies now to all of the student’s behavior not just their skills at the studio.
After she finished her chart of chores, she was allowed to get her belt back and ever since then, we have not had any major issues at all. On the contrary, she has shown tremendous strength and self control especially in difficult situations and her mom sums it up best: “the biggest changes I have seen in Morgan is about her anger. She is not arguing as much with her teachers. It is her responsibility to keep her belt.”
We are happy to see our students progress in the Martial Arts, but most importantly, we like them realizing that their efforts can evaporate quickly should they choose not to make the right choices. Ultimately, a Martial Artist is judged by the choices they make not only at the studio, but specially outside of it.