Daily Blog

Think Like A White Belt

My good friend Caleb teaches Kajukenbo here in the facility with me. We’ve been side by side businesses for years.  

In Kajukenbo there’s an actual family tree from when the art was founded in Hawaii in the mid-1950s.  There’s a family tree here, right next to the mat.  You see it every time you step on to the floor.  It’s huge.  

On that tree is my buddy, Caleb.  He’s way down, close to the bottom, but he’s definitely there.  

Here’s the cool thing: He can’t promote anyone on a whim.  

Each promotion is in front of a board.  The higher the promotion, the wider the board ranges.  For some promotions he has other instructors come in from other states.

So, the system prevents anyone from coming in with a black belt they got at the store and pretending to be a guru.  Just doesn’t work.  

You’re not on the tree, pal.  You’re not special.  Rise through the ranks like everyone else.  Be a white belt first.

Here’s the other thing: Thinking like a white belt gets you places.  A good white belt is a sponge.  They know their place, and it’s to learn.  There’s no room for ego.  A black belt is no different, they just help juniors grow in tandem with their own learning.  The problem with the actual black belt is the ego that it inflates in some.  

If you want to know if someone is good, give them power.  

The great ones earned their black belts but you can’t tell right away.  They’re too busy helping others become better white belts. 

Learning first, then spread what you know.

By Thinky Space Man

Thinky is a strength coach and gym owner in the Pacific Northwest.

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