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Bowley Kenpo Karate » Belt Promotion, Philosophy » Big Step vs. Next Step

Big Step vs. Next Step

Each step along the martial arts path is simply placing one foot in front of the other and then repeat. Learn blocks, learn strikes, learn techniques, sparring, advancement are all steps of progress. But as simple as a concept as this might seem, the process often appears intimidating. To a beginner moving from white belt to yellow, it seems like such a huge step

Belt advancements are big steps, but also just the next step in the journey

Belt advancements are big steps, but also just the next step in the journey

up. (This viewpoint is common again from orange to purple, green to brown, and brown to black advancements.) And while from that perspective it may seem true, the reality is it’s just the next step along the path. It doesn’t diminish the accomplishment as the next step is just as important as the last step. But the step is still a step.

For many the next step seems like a huge leap and is quite intimidating. (myself included at times) Much of this view comes from feelings generated at the beginning of your martial arts experience. Seeing advanced belts move and spar from a beginners perspective, it’s easy to believe you’ll never have flow of motion down that smooth. And as a beginner rank, you generally don’t move that well. But then there are many steps to take to get to the advanced point. And you get there putting one foot in front of the other and allowing the time to take those steps.

But the intimidated perspective may not go away as skills develop. It’s not often easy to have a clear view on your own skill level. An instructor provides the right guidance and decides when it’s time to advance. So when it comes time to test or learn something higher-up, you feel anxiety off the scale. “I’m not ready or qualified for this” are the common thoughts. “It’s such a big step up from where I am now.”

Big step or baby step. New move, new technique, new form, or new belt. It is the next step on the path. Trust in your instructor to recognize your progress. Have faith in yourself that you have trained and done your homework leading up to this point.

But also understand your perspectives may be outdated and have formed when you had much less knowledge. Viewpoints, like skills and movements, should develop as you progress as well. Perhaps the black belt looked like the top of the mountain from the eyes of a white belt. When you’re a brown belt though the black isn’t the highest point on your journey. It’s just the next mile marker along the way. And you get there one step at a time.

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Hat Tip to S.H.

Sam Bowley
McKinney, TX

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