Twenty minutes. Twenty. That’s all I had. I figured that was plenty of time because I am a talented and quick shopper. I gathered my items and got in line. I was behind someone with a small order so all was well. Turns out she was a talented and quick couponer and had 47 coupons for each item. Someone was behind me so I was trapped. I started sweating and panicking. I would be off-schedule. Even though it was not a ton of time it felt like it. Why didn’t I go into the Express Lane?  My 20-minute time budget was blowing up.

Sound familiar? In today’s fast-paced society, we have been conditioned by all sorts of things, like same day delivery and immediate downloads. Training in martial arts is often perceived the same way. It’s so easy to be sucked into the belief sold by most martial arts schools that you can learn it all and so quickly. Two years to earn a black belt seems to be the norm for a lot of systems. We call this type of training the Express Lane, also known as the “Under 15-items Black Belt,” if you will.

Two years to learn how to defend yourself. Two years to develop a mindset of self-control and awareness.  And the two-year, “quick study” plan seems to apply to students of all ages, even 6-year-olds. Two years is not enough: simply never enough, especially for a child. At Kaju AZ, we have teenage students who have trained for almost 11 years and are just NOW almost ready to become black belts.

Memorizing skills is not the only thing necessary to reach this accomplishment. A good black belt has mental toughness, maturity, self-control and the physical ability to defend him or herself. Those things are more important than the actual techniques.

After all, if we break it down, we are teaching people how to kill another human being, so our goal MUST be bigger than just getting down the technique:

  • We must be aware enough to avoid certain situations.
  • We must use restraint and control.
  • We must know what force is needed, no more and no less.
  • And YES, we need to learn to just walk away whenever possible.

A true black belt will do whatever it takes to survive for sure, but in 99.99 percent of the situations, killing is not necessary. Learning a technique could be a rather speedy process, especially for those that are talented and quick learners. But you can’t rush maturity and self-control, especially for young children.

Sometimes taking your time is definitely worth it.

Aunty Jen

Aunty Jennifer Corder, an Arizona native, is co-owner of Kajukenbo Arizona with her husband Professor Kelly Corder, and sons Sifu Nicolas and Sibak Cameron. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Family Resources and Human Development. She is a black belt in Kajukenbo with over 15 years of martial arts and self-defense training. She and her husband also founded Redrock Software Corporation in 1991 and enjoys working with her family in both businesses.