What is a Black Belt?

The term black belt means something to people even if they know nothing about martial arts!  Its a term that carries weight.  Why?
Is it because we value someone’s ability to fight?  Or is it more because we know it takes time to invest in an art that has been practiced for centuries?  I think it’s more the latter.  Martial Arts has a rich history.  And as we study martial Arts, we plug ourselves into that history.  
Does that mean that this 59 year old grandmother trains the way the samurai and ninjas did many years ago?  Of course not!  Does it mean that I train the way a young “fighter” would train?   Of course not!  Personally I’m trying to put off knee replacement surgery!  Martial Arts has many benefits besides simply fighting!  
I keep fit with martial arts.
I keep my mind strong and growing with martial arts.
I encourage others with martial arts.
I keep young with martial arts!
What about kids who are black belts?  Does that mean they can take on an adult?  Of course not!  But just as martial arts training has many benefits for an older person, it has many benefits for kids as well.
Martial arts:
Trains young brains to focus.
Grows neurons simply from the rhythmic patterns we learn.
Gives a purposeful activity.
Gives them self confidence and self esteem.
Gives them perseverance and goals to set and achieve.
Helps them mature!
So what does a black belt mean to a child?  It means that he has persevered and chosen to come to class when maybe he wanted to play video games, soccer, baseball, watch tv, swim, etc.  He chose to keep coming and keep learning.  He chose to stick with something for longer than a season and he has reached a milestone in his training.  Does it mean that a child has arrived and knows everything?  Of course not!  It does not matter what color your belt is or how many stripes are on that belt or how old you are; there is always more to learn and ways to improve.