A monthly newsletter for students and friends of Kicks Martial Arts for Women
|Inside this issue:
The Paradox of Rank
Cool Link of the Month
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|The Paradox of Rank
CardioKicks Fitness Tip
by Sabum Nim Laura Kamienski
There are many stories about how the first martial arts ranking systems developed. One of the most popular and romantic is the myth that a black belt was simply a white belt that had gotten so dirty from training that it turned black. While this story is inspiring it has no basis in fact.
Where did the colored belt ranking system come from? Most, but not all, martial arts systems have some kind of ranking system. Several claim to be the originators of the "in-between ranks" and there are as many different variations of belt ranking systems as there are styles of martial arts. It's likely that the first middle rank was introduced as a way of organizing class curriculum and tournament competition. But for whatever reason having any ranking system in martial arts at all is paradoxical.
One of the ultimate goals of training in a martial art is "focus", or learning to stay in the moment. This is usually understood ideologically or psychologically, but is also a pragmatic matter. For example, if we find ourselves in a confrontational or violent situation the last thing we need to be doing is worrying about what we should have done yesterday or need to do tomorrow. We need to focus, to be completely present in the moment. Ironically our training has us continuously thinking about our next rank testing and getting that next belt color. I can't count the number of times I've heard new students say that their whole aim in martial arts training is to earn a black belt. I always want to pause and and ask them, "Why?" What does a black belt mean? Better yet, what does it mean to be a black belt?
Rank means different things to different people, but that doesn't mean that it's essence is a relative matter. Of course recognition for our achievments is important and goals are useful. We shouldn't dismiss their value. But when our goals become dependent on external reward we risk becoming more concerned with how others view us than how we view ourselves; a sure sign of poor self-esteem.
Laura Kamienski, director of Kicks Martial Arts for Women, has been appointed the Pennsylvania State Director of the International Tae Kwon Do Union (ITU) by ITU President and seventh degree black belt Tom Merritt. The ITU was formed in 1997 to unite Tae Kwon Do practitioners and to provide an atmosphere of impartiality and scholarship in the martial arts. Ms. Kamienski will be responsible for overseeing ITU rank testing and promotions in the state of Pennsylvania as well as organizing and directing ITU seminars and events. “This appointment is a great honor,” said Kamienski. “The ITU is a fantastic organization, “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to help promote and strengthen it.”
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Many women who are within their ideal body weight view themselves as too fat, while many men of normal weight consider themselves to be too skinny. This is according to a study published in the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinity. This could potentially lead to health problems
because normal-weight women may develop eating disorders or
diet excessively and overweight men may not think they
should lose weight when they actually should. In the study
of 819 adults aged 19 to 39, investigators also found that
overweight men were more likely to consider themselves
attractive than overweight women, while underweight women
were more likely to consider themselves attractive than
underweight men. Maintaining an ideal body weight and
healthy self-perception are important factors in leading a
healthy life. Ask your physician whether you are at your
ideal weight, and if not, what you can do about it.
Promotions and Honors
Congratulations to Ella Kicks Junior Student of the Month.
Keep up the great work!
As students progress in martial arts, hopefully, they come to understand that rank shouldn't be the primary goal of training. Rank is simply a mile marker along the journey. Buddhist monk and scholar, Thich Nhat Hanh said, "The destination is not the purpose of a journey. Death is not the purpose of life." If we are continually looking ahead we end up missing all that is here now. Enjoy your training! When you're a white belt, be a white belt. When you're a green belt, be a green belt. Then, when you're a black belt, you'll be able to look back on your journey without disappointment or regret.
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