The journey to obtaining a Black Belt is usually an adventurous one and can also be long. What the Black Belt symbolizes will vary from style to style, and from school to school but generically it represents ‘technical excellence'. To be successful at attaining this level depends on the expectations of the school and Instructor but they all have one thing in common – successful completion of apprenticeship. Your Instructor is like your big brother keeping an eye on you.
A Black Belt should be given to students who have worked hard and really deserve it, and will hopefully continue the journey; that's what makes it worthwhile. There are those who have only worn their Black Belt once, you never see or hear from them ever again. I've actually thought about filing missing persons reports for some of them. Giving up training at this level would be no different graduating in law and then taking up gardening for a living; the Black Belt you worked so hard for now just becomes a thing of the past. It becomes a dream when once it was your dream.
A new Black Belt has to get used to being at the bottom of the rank structure (Black Belt) again which can be a culture shock for some who once were the most senior coloured belt students. Becoming a Black Belt means you are now part of an elite group. Taking a 'well deserved break' at this level is like abseiling down a cliff. It’s not as easy to get back up there so it is important for students to consider the consequences in falling victim to the ‘stop and smell the roses’ attitude. There is nothing wrong with taking a little breather, every now and then, but don't forget how hard you have worked to get where you are and not lose all that knowledge and skills. Think of the time and money you have spent.
The journey recommences, it never ends!