Jarrett Manzi December Black belt of the month

 unnamed 2 Jarrett Manzi December Black belt of the month Jarrett Manzi is our Black Belt of the month. He is a great example to our students. He was awarded Student of the Year for the entire World Tang Soo Do Association at the World Tournament held in Greensboro, NC on July 17, 2010. The WTSDA has over 100,000 members in 36 countries. Students are nominated in essay form from their instructors. Jarrett has been an exceptional student at Middleburg Martial Arts since 2004. He is a 3rd Degree Black belt and has been teaching for the past several years. Jarrett is a Leader at MMA and also volunteers his time with fundraisers as well as helping out at the studio wherever he is needed. He did all of this while maintaining a 4.2 GPA or higher. He attended  The University of Florida and graduated from U.N.F. He recently started a new job. Congratulations Mr Jarrett. We our lucky to have you as part of our karate family. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. Thank you also to Mrs Joanne for doing such a great job supporting him and out studio.  Jarretts essay is posted below.   








There are many ways people can define a black belt, also known as a “Yu Dan Ja”. People from outside of the martial arts world signify a black belt as maybe a “fighting machine”. But these people have no idea what true martial arts is really all about. To get a better representation of a black belt, one must seek knowledge from someone who has already earned a Black Belt and who knows what martial arts has to offer. That person will know what someone can gain from earning a black belt, not just the kicks and the punches, but so much more. A black belt is much more than a long piece a black fabric wrapped snugly around your waist. If it were, then everyone would have a black belt. It is about the hard work, dedication, commitment and perseverance that you put it in to get your head instructor to finally tie that, much earned, Black Belt around your waist in front of your closest friends, family and fellow students. I think the best representation of black belt comes directly from the Black Belt Manual. The Black Belt manual is given to someone who has earned a black belt to call their own. This essay will delve into the black belt oath and qualifications of a black belt, detailing what each means and how I perceive them and how they pertain to everyday life.As you stand in front of hundreds of spectators that consist of parents, friends, relatives, fellow students, instructors (both past and present), many Masters and possibly and hopefully, Grandmaster, you are asked to repeat the following Black Belt Oath:
  • I, _____, a member of the World Tang Soo Do Association, solemnly swear and affirm that I will forever conduct all of my affairs, both public and private, in accordance with the invincible spirit of Tang Soo Do, and always focus my energies toward the promotion and enhancement of Tang Soo Do. Furthermore, I solemnly swear that I will be loyal to my Association for the rest of my life.
A great feeling of accomplishment rushes through your entire body. But what does being a Black Belt mean and how did you get there?The journey to Black Belt is a long one. It takes endurance, dedication, perseverance and commitment. As one moves along though the ranks these become some of your traits. They are part of who you are rather than something you are trying to achieve. These traits help you to realize that anything is possible in life. The black color of the belt represents calmness, dignity and sincerity. The Black Belt also represents the end of the stages towards true mastery; however, more importantly, it is the beginning of the next stage. Achieving a Black Belt is not just an accomplishment, it is a way of life, and therefore the a Black Belt holder is expected to have the following qualifications as defined in the Black Belt Manual:
  • NATURE: The Black Belt is motivated primarily by the ideals of human service rather than any other reason (such as revenge, violence, fighting or riches). A Black Belt chooses this way of life under solemn oath.
As stated in the Black Belt Manual that the fundamental concept of the art of Tang Soo Do is: The ultimate goal of Tang Soo Do is nature! Tang Soo Do strives to truly understand and appreciate nature and apply the laws of nature in a practical manner. Then BECOME ONE WITH HER!!!” The journey to Black Belt combines the physical development as well as the mental and spiritual development to create a whole self. This concept of Tang So Do and nature is the one that I believe is the most important. Many people join martial arts for the wrong reasons. They join because they want to learn how to cause harm. They don’t see the true benefit that martial arts have to offer. Yes, one can learn a great deal of self-defense by joining martial arts. But, is that what it’s all about? I don’t think so. I think people should join martial arts in search of changing the person they are becoming the person they want to be. To be truthfully honest, I joined Tang Soo Do because I had to. My parents did not want me home after school by myself, and Middleburg Martial Arts offered an after school program. So, starting when I was 12, this is where I was every day after school. When I was that young, I did not see the true benefits that Tang Soo Do had to offer me. All I saw was kicking and punching. But, as I grew older, I saw the true benefits it had to offer. Tang Soo Do was teaching me how to be the person I should be, sculpting me into the best person I could be and has molded me in to the person I am today. Many instructors throw out the phrase “one with nature”. What does that really mean? Become part of the forest? No, I don’t think so. If you think about it, we are already part of nature. We come into this world in a natural way and when we leave, we end up in the dirt. Throughout our life we do many things that can affect nature in a positive or negative way. What “become one with nature” means to me is this: a person must recognize that there are more important things in life than just them and things happen in ways in which we cannot control. So what we must do is control the things that we do to the best of our ability. The things around us will outlast us by a great deal and we as people must be cognoscente of that.
  • ACHIEVEMENT: The Black Belt is an exemplary martial artist who has trained incessantly to achieve maturation of body and mind, and the invincible spirit of Tang Soo Do.
When trying to describe my journey to black belt to the lower ranking students, I find it difficult to describe the true magnitude of this achievement. I my opinion, achieving a black belt in Tang Soo Do is one of the most challenging and rewarding things a person could ever do. And to be honest, you won’t understand until you personally go through it. The amount of effort that goes into achieving a black belt is tremendous. I think the hard work truly sets in when you reach Cho Dan Bo. This is when reality really hits you. A Black Belt is finally within your grasps. But, the hard work just started. I look back to when I was Cho Dan Bo from time to time. I remember being in the studio four to five times a week going through all of the material that was needed for my test. And that’s just that Tang Soo Do written portion of the test. To test for black belt, you also have to be in top physical shape or the test will get the better of you. Along with achievement one must have perseverance. Without self-perseverance, I would have never made it this far. Granted there were many times that I wanted to stop training for many different reasons. When I wasn’t training I felt there was something missing in my life. I realized that Tang Soo Do was part of me and has helped to define the person that I have become. I started Tang Soo Do when I was young because I had to; however, now I train because I want to. To achieve maturation of body and mind does not come easy. There is a lot of sweat and hard work to obtaining a Black Belt; however, in the end the achievement and feeling of accomplishment will outweigh the physical pain one may endure during your training and the Black Belt test.
  • PROFESSIONAL: The Black Belt is a professional regardless of profession. Therefore, the Black Belt must constantly strive to reach a higher level of perfection of body and mind through practice. The Black Belt must do this in such a manner as to enhance the prestige and dignity of their profession.
Satisfactory or “just good enough” is never enough for a black belt. They will always strive for more. My mother always reminds me of this. She constantly tells me to never strive for second best and to always go over and above what is expected. This is pertinent in school and in the workforce. In school, the project that is over and above the professor’s expectations is the one that gets the A. In the workforce, the employee that goes beyond the employer’s expectations is the one that gets the promotion. The same holds true with our training in Tang Soo Do. There were many times during my Gup training where I had the option to train with lower ranks or step up and train with the Black Belts. I took the opportunity to train with the Black Belts. I feel that if you are put in a situation with those ranked the same as you or below then your abilities and training stay at that level. However, if you are put with those above you, your inner drive forces you to step up to their level and train at their level. So whenever I have the choice, I will choose up!
  • LOYALTY: The Black Belt is completely loyal and motivated by the pride and honor of their art to help their studio, instructor, Grandmaster and Association.
Many people get their black belt and then call it quits. To me, the journey is too strenuous and too monumental to just give up once you get there. Obtaining a black belt should be the end of one journey and the beginning of the next. After earning a black belt, Tang Soo Do becomes part of your every day life. You dedicate you life your life to the betterment of Tang Soo Do. When I obtained my black belt I knew journey wasn’t over, it was just beginning. I know that Tang Soo Do will be a part of my life until the day I die. I consider myself to be very loyal to Middleburg Martial Arts and the art of Tang Soo Do. For one, I am an instructor there and I dedicate a lot of my time to making sure things run smoothly at the studio. I enjoy helping to promote the studio by marketing the studio by doing demos at outside events. I also try to hand out trial coupons to people who I feel can benefit from martial arts training. For the Region, I help at all of the Regional events and when asked, I help to proctor the Black Belt tests and the Black Belt Camps. When asked to help I am one of the first to step up when needed.
  • CONTRIBUTION: The Black Belt volunteers their help. They should aid in all Tang Soo Do activities and devote their knowledge to the improvement of human welfare.
Part of being a Black Belt and being loyal to the art means that one must help promote the art of Tang Soo Do. Being loyal to the studio, your instructors and the Association comes in many forms. Once you become a Black Belt there are several responsibilities that come with wearing the belt. You are expected to attend local, regional and world events. You are expected to be at the gup tests to promote the advancement of the lower ranking students. To be honest, what is more satisfying than that? See people make the journey that you embarked on. It’s rewarding because you see them trying their hardest and you know it will all make sense to them in the end. A big part of contribution at Middleburg Martial Arts is outside demos. Demos are very key to promoting the studio. Doing a demonstration for outsiders to watch gives them a quick glance at what martial arts can bring them. For the parents, they see the discipline and good grades that all of the students have. For the kids, they see the cool techniques and high flying jump kicks. So in the end, it is a win for the parents and kids, but more importantly, a win for the studio and the Association.
  • JUSTICE & TRUTH: The Black Belt is a person who is capable of judging clearly, truth and untruth. Even when truth has a bitter taste, a Black Belt must remain fixed on the side of truth and justice.
I see this as know wrong from right. I am reminded of the first of the Seven Tenants of Tang Soo Do: integrity. Integrity means to always be honest. A true black belt is always honest, even when nobody is looking. So, what I take from this qualification is that a black belt always does the right thing, even if nobody is around to see them do it. Having good judgment and always telling the truth. There may be times in your life that you are faced with difficult decisions. It is expected that a Black Belt will use good judgment when faced with these decisions. There may be times that a decision turns out to be the wrong one but a true Black Belt will tell the truth and own up to their mistakes or the lack of good judgment at the time
  • LEADERSHIP & RESPECT: The Black belt is a leader in Tang Soo Do and all social functions. They should lead a righteous and respectable life according to the Five Codes of Tang Soo Do.
Many people today, especially teenagers fall into being followers. They don’t make decisions for themselves and that is what gets them in trouble. A black belt is a leader. They are a person who can stand up and take charge, no matter the situation. Whether it is with martial arts, school, work, or another situation, a black belt is a manger. More importantly, a black belt makes the right decision for themselves and the ones they care about. People say that you are a direct reflection of the five people you hang out with the most. So if you are constantly around people who drink and smoke, chances are that is what you are going to do. On the journey to black belt, you gain many life-long friends to have by yourself. What better people to hang out with than more black belts that believe in the same codes and tenants and have the black belt qualifications?
  • BROTHERHOOD: The Black Belt is a person who exhibits brotherhood and sacrifice for the members of the Black Belt Society in order to protect the prestige of the Black Belt.
When someone earns their black belt, they become part of an elite family, one that looks out for one another. To protect the prestige of a black belt, they must stay a tight knit family. Otherwise, the foundations of becoming a black diminish beneath their feet. There is a strong and hard to explain bond between black belts. The individual journey to black belt is unique to everyone; however, the end result is the same, a Black Belt. The journey to Black Belt creates several strong friendship bonds that will hopefully last for a lifetime.
  • HERITAGE: The Black Belt is responsible for the continuation of Tang Soo Do. They must constantly recruit new students in order to transfer our art to the next generation, consistently teaching the proper way.
This qualification is very important. As black belts, we are responsible for the growth of Tang Soo Do. Without the recruitment of new members, Tang Soo Do would slowly fade away with time. It is our job to ensure that Tang Soo Do goes on long well after we pass away. This is the vision of Grandmaster Jae C. Shin, whose legacy will live on forever through the World Tang Soo Do Association. As stated earlier, I do a great deal to help promote Middleburg Martial Arts. I volunteer my free time to do demos to try and bring prospective students in. I help out at carwashes that raise money to send students to tournaments and clinics they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. But, I feel the best way I promote the heritage of Tang Soo Do and Middleburg Martial Arts is through teaching. Teaching kids the way of Tang Soo Do and what it has to offer is the best way to spread the heritage of Tang Soo Do and ensure that it carries on for generations.
  • APPLICATION: The Black belt is one who is capable of applying their knowledge and skill of Tang Soo Do into their own or another’s life, in a practical way, for better living.
The final qualification of a black belt wraps it all up. It says to take everything that you’ve learned and apply it to your life. Throughout your journey to black belt you acquire a set of social and mental skills that will help you throughout your journey through life. Knowing that you have those skills is one thing, but applying them is another. So take the skills that you learn when achieving a black belt to help sculpt your life into the one you’ve always dreamt of. In conclusion, a black belt is much more than a belt tied around your waist. It is a symbol of the blood, sweat, tears, and years of hard work it took to achieve that belt. Yes, you can protect yourself if somebody tries to harm you or somebody close to you. But that is not what it’s all about. Since the journey started, you have hopefully become a better person. You have matured and established a new path with Tang Soo Do. As the black belt oath states, “The black color of the belt represents calmness, dignity and sincerity. The Black Belt also represents the end of the stages towards true mastery; however, more importantly, it is the beginning of the next stage”. The journey is not over, but just beginning. My journey started when I was 12, when I started Tang Soo Do, and really took off when I was 15 and earned my black belt. I know that my journey is not even close to over. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with the members of the World Tang Soo Do Association. unnamed 1 106x300 Jarrett Manzi December Black belt of the month unnamed

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