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Black Belt is the Beginning

Learn to Earn

“Learn to Earn”

Sensei Darren breaks it down: 

From the moment we’re born we start learning and developing skills. We are all unique and some will learn things quicker than others.


Some of our earliest skills are breathing, learning to recognise sound, making our own sounds, grasping objects, physical movement of our body through crawling, then walking and mastering talking.

Happy, smiling Baby crawling around in Grass

When you think about it, That’s a lot of complex skills we all take for granted because we were to young to remember. It’s only as a parent you can see the transformation for yourself through watching your child.


You may be thinking what has this got to do with the “title”? Simply that you could not be ‘given’ these skills or ‘buy’ them; you developed them as you learned, or, to put it another way; you earned those skills, we all do.



We all want a boost in confidence, we all want to achieve and attain new skills, and we all can!

We all, mostly, understand that the best things in life are gained when we focus and work hard through our own efforts. It’s never that satisfying to be ‘given’ a reward for something we didn’t really do or earn; no one feels good cheating, and we all learn early on that cheating isn’t the right thing to do.



However, I think we all feel ‘entitled’ sometimes. A reason for this might be that we pay someone to help us achieve a skill, whether that’s learning how to drive, gaining a university degree or having swimming lessons.


We hand over some money and then want the magic to happen: we want the qualification , the skill.


What we sometimes forget is that the magic is inside us; it’s only ourselves that can make it happen.

A good coach, instructor, teacher can guide you and break down how to do it, then its up to you to practice, practice and practice some more!


Learn and absorb what’s been taught. The RESULT comes from YOU , the Coach shows you the way.


How disappointed would you be if you paid for swimming lessons for your child and after a few sessions the instructor said “Here you go, congratulation’s your child can swim, here’s your certificate” and then you go off on holiday, go into the pool and discover your child can’t actually swim at all! Disappointing, not to mention downright dangerous. That’s because money cannot buy the skills, it can only buy the knowledge, help and guidance to teach, YOU have to earn the skill through hard work.


The same thing is happing in martial arts; it’s a skill, a life time of study. And everyone is different, there is no race. The beauty is you’re not trying to compete against another person, its about your own self esteem, building confidence and building skills in whatever time it takes; its about becoming “A better you!”


It doesn’t matter wether you’re a child or an adult, the feeling you get from gaining a new coloured belt is fantastic, however the belt is only a representation, the skill is in you. You either have it or you don’t…….. yet.

Anyone can buy a belt or buy a pair of boxing gloves , doesn’t make you a Kick-boxer!


I always remember someone telling me “Beware of false praise!”


In my opinion there is nothing better out there to help children gain confidence than martial arts, it’s truly a skill for life! The self-esteem is transformational.


Training teaches children perseverance, gratitude, respect, self-respect, goal setting, and humility


On of the most important lessons in my opinion, is how to overcome failure, how to try again, how to keep going until you finally succeed! Because when you learn this lesson you will always “Learn & Earn”.

How to help a child ‘Learn & Earn’ a skill.

  • A good children’s martial art Coach will have the current curriculum for the correct age group. Imagine a primary school trying to teach senior school subjects to their students! The poor kids would have a nightmare, it would simply be setting the children up for failure.


  • The curriculum needs to be broken down in to small manageable chunks, less is always more. Children learn best when they focus on a key area instead of being overwhelmed with lots of complex moves.


  • Give children constant feedback, praise when doing something well, correct what needs learning.
  • Have mini tests so children know they are progressing in areas.


Consider a spelling test. If, out of five words, a child got two wrong, its much better to say “Well done you spelt these three words perfectly, now lets work on the other two” isn’t it? The child knows they are learning, doing well, there are just a couple of others to get, then it’s five out of five! It’s the same when you want to earn a belt, a grade, a qualification.


Qualifications are all about showing you have learned a skill. I’d certainly want a well qualified surgeon if I needed surgery. I’m sure you would too. I’m also sure that you would want to have earned or your child to have earned a belt or grade, and behind that, have the ability to back up the award!


Money can buy objects, however it’s only ourselves that can master skills.


Be patience with yourself/ your child, train regularly, train hard and you will gain the skills, not through how much money you throw at it, but by how you train hard at it.


Invest in you, invest in your child. The rewards will come when they are earned.


Become “A better You” in all you do in life


Much Respect

Sensei Darren.



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