A Message to All Colored Belts

Not only is it okay to feel stupid or silly or embarrassed, but it’s actually normal. We are trying to build you into better, stronger, confident people. Trying to build you into black belts.

As a black belt instructor – particular I think as a female instructor – I am privileged to see a side of people that they might not show to the surly male black belts. I get little awkward confessions. I get little awkward comments, little personal questions.

“When can I wear black pants?”

“I just feel so weird…”

Laughing awkwardly, “It just freaks me out.”

You let them slip to me, colored belts, adults, teens. I hear them. You unconsciously sense a kinship in me, a friendly, female face. You think nothing of your comment, just a little question, innocent statement. But I hear them. I listen. And I’m here to tell you something important.

All the colored belts.

All the martial arts moms.

All the awkward teenagers.

Wait for it…

IT’S OKAY TO FEEL AWKWARD.

OR WEIRD.

OR INSECURE.

It’s okay to feel a little insecure when you are first starting out. It’s okay if you continue to feel insecure. We as instructors would not be doing our jobs right if you didn’t feel awkward, or weird, or insecure, or freaked out sometimes. We are trying to build you into something. We are trying to build you into better, stronger, confident people. Trying to build you into black belts.

5e7e1d8f5894941fdd1bd148627ab617If you didn’t feel a little weird and awkward and uncomfortable sometimes, well. It’s hard to fill a cup which is already full, am I right?

So, ladies, wearing white pants freaks you out. Makes you feel nervous. I know. I get it. We ALL get it. Trust me. Every single other lady feels the same way. It’s all part of the process, of feeling out of your comfort zone, of how to deal with your insecurities and move past them to grow into confident women, unafraid of your bodies and unafraid of the pink undies you sometimes wear to class. Because pink rocks. Remember that. We see the pink undies, and we don’t care.

Work through those cramps. Exercise helps.

Adults – moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles… you feel a little weird, kicking and screaming, doing things that make you feel like you look stupid sometimes. And the black belts have all told you countless times that it’s okay. As not only a black belt, but an educator, I can offer you something a little more: not only is it okay to feel stupid or silly or embarrassed, but it’s actually normal. When’s the last time you went out and tried something new? Your children try something new every day at school. What you are feeling for 45 minutes in a class is what your children feel all day long. We grow out of that feeling as we go through school, but I promise, it’s okay and normal to revisit that feeling occasionally. It’s actually good for you, too. You can read more about that particular topic here

Self Defense makes you squeamish. I hear this a lot as well; you don’t want to hurt someone, the idea of punching someone in the ribs or palm-heeling their nose into their brain freaks your butt right out. It freaks out the black belts too, if they really get down to it and think about it. Honestly, I’ve become pretty numb to self defense drills. That numbness works in my favor – the drills are so automatic that if someone were to really in real life grab me, I’d have a knee jerk reaction to hit them back and defend myself.

The drills are good – we are simulating a stressful situation in a controlled environment. That way you can actually react and do something in a stressful situation. I know it doesn’t feel like that now. It’s not supposed to just yet. Remember, can’t fill a cup which is already full.

Your cups are empty. They are supposed to be empty. We – the instructors – are filling them slowly. We are building you into something. We are building you into black belts. Better people, confident people, strong people. All the awkwardness, all the insecurity, all the embarrassment, we hear you. We know. Trust us when we tell you that all THAT, it’s all part of the process.

We promise it’s okay. More than that, it’s normal.

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