“The Black Belt exam is a powerful, life-defining experience that gets to the heart of the matter. It is my opportunity to alter my capacities to accomplish, and to stand powerfully as the gift that I am and the difference that I make.”

Dear Student,

Congratulations on achieving your 1st Degree Black Belt.

I have made a list of requests that I hope you follow. These requests are not contracts or agreements, they are more than that. They are so, because I hope you will say so as a Black Belt. These are the rules for playing a game called life. In this game, nobody will ever know if you missed one thing or another, except you; just like nobody will ever know if you did your best in getting your Black Belt, except you. Nobody will ever know if you did the full Black Jack, except you. Nobody can make an unprecedented life out of this ordinary game, except you!

The Body of the Black Belt

Make a commitment to stay away from cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, alcohol, drugs or anything that will cause you harm in time, no matter how good they make you feel when you use them.

Visualize your body to be that ultimate car that you have always wanted. If you owned that car right now, how would you take care of it? Would you put regular gas in it or premium? Would you make sure this fantastic machine gets its regular tune-ups on time? Would you let anything happen to it? Would you let an intoxicated friend drive it around? Would you want your friends to smoke in this beautiful car?

Promise to rest well. Not just sleep, but rest. Resting is much more powerful than sleeping. Rest your body along with your mind, heart and spirit.

Always exercise. It doesn’t matter what you do. Do aerobic as well as non-aerobic workouts. By aerobics what I mean is, doing things that require you to breathe hard and fast. The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of Oxygen. Give yourself the gift of alive water as much as you can.

Keep your body flexible. Flexibility is a sign of being alive; only the dead are hard and inflexible. You can cheat your body; nobody will know, except you. But one day, it will catch up with you.

The Mind of the Black Belt

Learn to read. People who don’t read are no better than those who don’t know how to read. Read the great minds of the past and present. Don’t waste your energy and life by reading junk (what’s so called casual reading).

Meditate regularly. Don’t take the power of visualization so lightly. Be in control of your mind and your emotions or they will control you.

Take courses in the subjects that you don’t know anything about; this will challenge your mind and stop it from getting comfortable and lazy.

Never, never stop learning. Remember that everyone has something to teach; some teach you what to do, others will teach you what not to do.

The Heart of the Black Belt

Learn to love unconditionally. Love is the best food for the heart. It has always been amazing to me how in English there is only one word for Love. I love so many things, my car, my wife, my horse, etc. But these are all different levels of love.

In Greek, there are 10 different levels of love. The lowest level of love is the Selfish Love, which means if you are not with me, then I don’t love you. The highest level of love is the Agape Love, which means an unconditional love.

Learn to forgive. The poison of revenge is the worst thing for the heart. Love your parents and your family.

The Spirit of the Black Belt

Make time to play. Play not to win, but to enjoy.

Meditate as often as you can.

Make peace with your enemies.

Be in touch with your God.

Notice that the word fighting has never been mentioned once. Isn’t that amazing?

All those kicking combinations and forms, all those pushups and all that work.

Yes, all those were tools, just as the pen and the paintbrush are the tools of artists.

So many people get caught in the fantasy of having a better tool, a fancier tool, a more effective tool, a bigger tool, a whatever tool. But don’t you ever forget that the purpose of the tool is to open up a door to a much higher place.

After you are there, you don’t need to carry this tool on top of your head everywhere.

Please use your tool carefully.

Have honor in your word and your commitments.

Be a Black Belt.

Love,

Sensei Fariborz