Can anyone achieve black belt?

This is a topic that came up at work. Actually, the point raised was that having a black belt is not as impressive as Joe Public thinks it is. I initially agreed. Somewhat out of self-deprecation. If I can do it, anyone can. I’m not a superhero or some mystic Yoda-esque ninja. But after a period of reflection, I came to realise that the point being made was off target.

Whenever martial arts comes into conversation with people I’ve just met or with people who didn’t know I’m a practitioner, the first question asked is “What belt are you?”. When I reveal I’m a black belt, the response is usually along the lines of “Better not mess with you then!”. That’s the point that needs to be contested. Being a black belt doesn’t make you invincible. Being a black belt doesn’t even make you a fighter. I haven’t been in a street fight for years. Have no intention of doing so either. Should it happen then hopefully I’d fair better than a version of me that didn’t train in martial arts.

My instructor occasionally likes to trip newbies up with the question “How long does it take the average person to achieve black belt?”. “5 years? 4 years?”. “Wrong! The average person will never achieve black belt!”. Poking around the internet throws statistics of anywhere between 1% and 10% of starters continue to black belt. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be particularly athletically capable. Any decent school will work around any physical struggles one may have (like my dodgy knees and hip).

So can anyone achieve black belt? I believe there is nothing stopping you getting there apart from yourself. Can you push yourself and dedicate yourself to a goal that may take years to achieve? Even when the going gets tough? Not everyone can do that.

Woodley vs Thompson 2

Looking forward to this one. A great example of a valid rematch. I also like it because it’s TMA vs wrestler. My heart is always going to lean towards the TMA practitioner. Thompson is also a TMA evangelist, not just practitioner. Very positive guy. Woodley is the polar opposite. Great fighter but all his recent comments leave an unsavoury taste in my mouth. Not a lot of positive rhetoric coming through at all.

Bisping vs GSP… Really!? 

In my mind, there’s a lot of things wrong with this matchup. Some subjective, some objective. 

What’s wrong 

  1. I don’t believe it’s acceptable for fighters returning from retirement or loss, to go straight into a title fight. I didn’t think it was acceptable for Rousey and I don’t think it’s right for GSP. 
  2. This Middleweight division is stacked. Stacked with fighters who have worked to put themselves into contention. Their efforts have been trivialised by UFC’s management desire to cash in on PPV. 
  3. I like Bisping. But this is just more fuel for his critics. He needs a credible defence of his title to cement his reign. 

What’s right 

  • GSP becomes an active fighter again. Defending the title he’s just retaken.
  • OR…Bisping defends his title by claiming the scalp of another legend. 

I don’t blame the fighters in this fiasco at all. GSP would always bite the hand that offers a title fight at him. And Bisping has always been a “Martini” fighter. His recent admittance of a desire to cash in as much as possible,  makes this very attractive to him. But beating Romero / Weidman / Souza… Would do more for his legacy than beating a fighter with ring rust. It would go some way go silencing his critics.