You have heard me talk about this many, many times. In Tae Kwon Do, we have said that one must have a new beginning to achieve the rank of “Black Belt.” We say that your Black Belt test IS a “New Beginning.” In fact, in all martial arts the ultimate goal is to leave the old life behind and find a new life in ones chosen style of the arts. Can you do this? If you have attained the level of Black Belt then you should have had enough time in your Tae Kwon Do experience to understand what this means. Have you really had a new beginning? If you are still striving toward that level, are you ready to make that transition? How do you see a “New Beginning?”
Most often, people come to my school looking for physical fitness, self-defense, and physical strength. They may want to lose weight, gain muscle tone, or seek techniques to protect themselves in a physical attack. That is what brings them through the door the first time. What was your personal goal when you came? Sometimes, a person wants to “be a Black Belt” and that is a visualization of how he or she sees the future . . . a black belt tied around the waist of a white uniform. They will see themselves standing taller, shoulders back, and walking with the admiration of others. Yes, this is a physical view. Rarely does anyone think about the true meaning of being a “Black Belt.” So, I try to teach my students that meaning. I sometimes feel like my words fall on deaf ears or are misunderstood somehow. I want you to not only “hear” but I want you to “listen” and accept. Think about your own experience with Tae Kwon Do.
Physical, mental, and spiritual . . . I have taught these concepts so many times. But do you understand yet how these levels of your training relate to your total growth and attainment of a Black Belt? You have heard me say before that Tae Kwon Do is not a religion. That is true. But it does have a spiritual aspect that can be just as important to your life. It is not about how many forms you can “remember” but how many you actually “understand.” It is not about your Black Belt “rank” but about your Black Belt “Spirit.” Only when you delve deeper into that part of your life will you have a true “New Beginning.”
If you don’t understand what a New Beginning is, you are not a true Black Belt. Ask yourself, “Am I prouder and more arrogant as I attain higher Black Belt ranks?” Most people when asked, “What does Black Belt mean?” will say “New Beginning” or “Seed.” But I hope you realize what this means. If you don’t, you only grow in the physical part. If no seed, you are limited mentally and spiritually and can become more self-righteous with each rank, even up to Tae Kwon Do’s highest rank of 9th Degree Black Belt. Regardless of your rank, still we are human and still we are sinners. The 9th Degree should be more humble than the 9th Gup. Your transition to Black Belt should be Spiritual, not just physical.
In John, Chapter 3, Jesus explains that “one must be born again to see the kingdom of God.” When questioned about how someone can be born a second time through his mother’s womb, Jesus further explains what he means. You are born one time of the flesh, but you can become born again through the Spirit. What is physical is physical. Of course, you cannot climb back into the womb and have a physical rebirth. But there is much greater glory in spiritual rebirth. The analogy that Jesus uses is that of the wind, saying, “It blows where it wishes and you hear its sound (so you know that it exists), but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Jesus tried to explain what Spiritual rebirth is and how He came to lead everyone who accepts the message to a new beginning, born again, in the Spirit.
I see this example of spiritual rebirth as a way to explain what I want you to understand about your rebirth, or “New Beginning,” as a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. The Spirit of Tae Kwon Do requires that one experiences being “born again” when becoming a Black Belt. With our World Christian Tae Kwon Do Mission, we pray for all of the world’s Tae Kwon Do family, 80 million strong, to experience being Born Again through Jesus Christ.
Finally, all true New Beginnings are called Born Again because the Holy Spirit is involved. Only God can handle our sin, not us by ourselves. That is the reason Jesus Christ is our True Self-Defense.