Blog‎ > ‎

Shodan +15

posted Sep 3, 2011, 4:45 PM by Eric Banks

 “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

 -Jim Rohn



It's hard to believe that today, at 1:20 pm, it's been 15 years since I stepped onto the dojo floor and performed the test for Shodan (first degree black belt) before Master Nishiyama and Sugiyama Sensei.  The three-day seminar prior to the test was amazing, as was the opportunity to be around so many ardent karate-ka and top instructors.  I also found Chicago, Chi-town, a city I'd visited five years before for a high school trip, to simply be a cool place to be. 


But the focus of the weekend for me, the reason I made the journey (by bus...) was to take that test.  Of course I trained like a madman for months in preparation, and when the moment came, I wasn't at all nervous; I simply took the floor and did what I had trained to do.  And once it was done, I knew that I had "left it all on the floor", done the absolute best that I could have, and I returned to KC confident that I had achieved my goal: black belt rank.


That weekend seminar in Chicago was the first of many, all of which I fondly remember, and the first of two more dan (black belt) exams each of which, amazingly, I passed. 


Passion, self-discipline, preparation and hard work are indispensable to achieving your goals.  No matter what you want to do, who or what you want to become, if you don't prepare, train, push yourself, sacrifice and, yes, bleed, that goal will remain nothing more than a dream.  How many people simply dream but never take that first step to making it a reality?  How many of us take that step, but back down in the face of setbacks and unexpected challenges.  This is normal human nature, for sure, but if we want to be more than "normal" humans, we gotta learn to grit our teeth and push just a little bit harder than we did yesterday, just a little bit harder than we think we can stand, just a little bit harder than anyone expects.  Sometimes, just a little bit more is all it takes to go a lot further...


It's unbelievable how quickly fifteen years has flown by.  Even more amazing is that fact that exactly four months from today, I'll no longer be a "teenager" in the art...  Yeah, we're gonna have to do some celebratin' then.