The Significance of a First Degree Black Belt


    One of the greatest misconceptions within the martial arts is the notion that all black belt holders are experts. It is understandable that those unacquainted with the martial arts might make this equation. However, students should certainly recognize that this is not always the case. Too often, novice black belt holders advertise themselves as experts and eventually even convince themselves.  The first degree black belt holder has usually learned enough technique to defend himself against a single opponent.  He can be compared to a fledgling who acquired enough feathers to leave the nest and fend for himself.
    The first degree is the starting point.  The student has merely built a foundation.  A perceptive student will, at this stage, suddenly realize how very little he knows.  The job of building the house lies ahead.
    The black belt holder also enters a new era of responsibility, though a freshman, The student has entered a strong honorable fraternity of black belt holders of the whole world; and his actions inside and outside the training hall will be carefully scrutinized. His conduct will reflect on all black belt holders and he must constantly strive to set an example for all grade levels.
    The novice black belt holder will now really begin to learn technique. Now that he has mastered the alphabet, he can begin to read. Years of hard work await him before can even begin to consider himself an instructor and expert.

     --General Choi Hong Hi
        Father of Tae Kwon Do