Inspiring your health and fitness
Becoming a gym black belt

Becoming a gym black belt


I have a long history in martial arts. I started judo as young child and have in some way shape or form always been involved in some form of self defense or fighting art. I’ve trained in judo, boxing, kick boxing, aikido, traditional jujitsu, wrestling, Brazilian jujitsu, Thai boxing and eventually mixed martial arts(MMA) – which is kind of a culmination of everything. Although I eventually ended up in MMA, for which there is no belt ranking system, I think I could arguably be called a black belt. I’ve done my time, had my battles, and expanded my knowledge and passed it on to help others. There are many parallels in the life of a successful martial  artist to those of the successful athlete or gym-goer. Whether you’re a top level sportsperson, a weekend warrior, or simply someone who just wants to look good naked, the code of the black belt would be wise to follow.

Learn from your sensei!

No matter how much you think you know, there is always someone out there who knows more. Listen and learn from others. Do your research and never be afraid to ask questions. A good mentor will be willing to help you and guide you in your training. Finding a good coach and working with them to garner your own knowledge and understanding will ultimately lead you to mastering your training.

 Be like water (Bruce Lee)

The famous Bruce lee quote is suggesting that to be successful one must flow and adapt to their surroundings. In terms of training, it’s all about flexibility. There is no one-size-fits-all approach or training regime. No one program has the answer to all questions. You must take what works for you, and follow it through. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing, make sure your training is flexible and meets your demands and tailors in with your goals. If it doesn’t, make a change.

 A black belt is just a white belt that never gave up

This is a homage to everyone who just kept going. Consistency is key in training. I remember my first training session in the notorious Pancrase London gym, in bethnal green. I walked into a gym full of professional fighters and proceeded to get my ass handed to me. This happened week after week. But I kept going back. Eventually I was the one handing out the ass-whoopings! It’s true in training that if you simply keep persevering no matter what obstacles you come across, even if it’s a beating, just by being consistent you will get results. Too many people give up at the first sign of adversity. See the bigger picture and drive on forwards.

It transcends merely the physical

Many martial arts are steeped in mythology and tradition. From the samurai martial arts of kendo, to the ceremonies still practiced by modern Thai boxers, the physical act of the fight means more than simply combat. It is battle with ones inner soul, a journey of self development. It can not be viewed in the moment but more so as a process of mastery. This is, in my belief much like training. I believe that there is more than simply looking good, or running fast for example. Training should be a process of discovery, where you look to test your own boundaries and you always strive to be the best you can. It’s not simply about winning or losing, but how you conduct yourself in battle and how you endure the hard moments with a smile and not a frown. It’s learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s bettering yourself. Your physical and psychological self. Once you have done this, there’s not many things in life that you can’t deal with.

 Put it all in perspective

I’ve been beaten up in front of my friends, family and peers, all while live on national and international TV. Several times. We are to quick to worry about what people might think of us and so we are scared of failure. The black belt knows there is no such thing as failure, only learning. Many people are afraid of the gym because they are worried  about other people judging them, or that they might look silly, or that they will not be able to keep up/do an exercise etc. Remember that everyone is in there training to better themselves, remember that’s what you’re there to do. Learn from your sensei, he or she will guide you. Be like water, be flexible and know that what You’re doing is for you’re benefit. Remember that no one started out fit and strong. They simply kept working at it, just like you will. Remember that it’s not really about what you look like or how you perform in that moment. Rather how you progress on your journey toward your goal. Above all remember that everyone was in your shoes once. Even the gym black belt.

Thanks for reading guys.