Tuesday, December 07, 2010

An honestly earned black belt

I come from a family of impressive male role models.  War hero dad; a longstanding community leader who was voted King of our little community a few years back.  Four older brothers; two engineers and two doctors.  My dad was a Boy Scout leader and a couple of my brothers made it to the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.

For years it vexed me that I didn't make Eagle Scout.  For years I felt like a quitter - least among giants.

Today I was chatting with a friend of the family and he told me he'd been talking to my dad recently and my dad proudly told him, "You know, my youngest son is really into that kicking stuff."

I may not be an Eagle Scout, but I am a black belt, and that is something of great value.  Quite an accomplishment!  One of the teachers I taught with a few years back told me I'd have to go through 1000 students for every student that would persist long enough to get a black belt.  I think as a teacher, my ratio has been a little higher than 1/1000, but not much. That's a pretty good rule of thumb.

Some McDojos will practically throw a black belt in your car window as you pass by, so long as you've paid sufficient fees.  I feel strongly that these places are doing a great disservice to their clientele - robbing them of the opportunity to honestly earn a thing with real meaning.  Perhaps the operators of these McDojos simply don't understand the harm they are doing to their clients - or perhaps they just don't care so long as you've paid sufficient fees.

Patrick Parker

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