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Member’s asked for it, GM Lewis designed it and thanks to Craig Smith the Under Black curriculum is now available.
Your $35 fee includes the downloadable manual, testing fee and after demonstrating a passing grade your certification certificate.
This is version 1.0 and as a registered JLFS member you will be able to download additions and upgrades to the first version at no charge.
Cum Cord Et Animus – JLFS BoD
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From Level 10:
What it takes to be a Joe Lewis Black Belt
The meaning of the concept black belt changes from decade to decade. Martial arts do not change, but rather, it is our understanding of them which does. Obviously, what a black belt means today is different than what it meant back in the late 50’s when I was first exposed to Martial Arts. What it means as a fighter may be quite different from what it means to someone who may be a teacher, a business person or just a family member.
First and foremost, to me it means being with the warrior spirit. The real warriors after all, were the ones who historically went into combat and tested their knowledge to discover what skills worked or which ones did not. Whether they were competing with their fellow man in preparation for combat, or were actually on the battlefield, these warriors were the only ones who experienced the cutting edge. Only they could return from combat and tell others what that experience was about. I am talking about first hand experience, what it is like being in the line of fire — not merely as a peripheral, casual observer, but actually tasting the blood, feeling the pain, and experiencing the agony of mental stress. The principles these warriors developed in those days still work today, not only on the battlefield, but also in business endeavors.
Courage to Lead
One of the first things I look at, observing someone wearing a black belt, is how he carries himself. It takes real pride to strap that belt on, stand there, grounded, knowing that you truly represent everything for which that belt stands. That alone is a mark of courage. There is no doubt in your mind when someone asks you “Are you a black belt?” You can speak not only with substance, but also with authority when you answer, “Yes.” The resonance in your voice alone sends a strong message of confidence, that if you had to prove it, there would be not only conviction with your intent, but also backbone in your execution. Underneath all of this, deep down in your power center, there is this energy of your spirit. If there is no doubt in your mind, then there will never be doubt in any one else’s that you really have it.
You cannot be a leader without a strong inner constitution. Leadership is not for imposters. When you make-believe inwardly that you are something that you are not, it is impossible to conceal. This disloyalty to the virtues of a real black belt makes you a self serving imposter, living with the anxiety and constant fear of the day you become exposed. To me, leadership begins with an inner honesty, an inner trust and respect for self.
I am reminded of Samson from the Bible. We always think of him as someone who was strong, the hero who was a symbol of strength. However, then he broke his inner constitution; he ate the food he was not supposed to, and he dabbled in partying with the tribe of people who were unlike his own. He broke the rules with which he had subscribed and pledged to honor. He breached his own inner constitution. He lost his strength. He yielded to weakness, and when you submit to weakness, you lose your ability to lead.
One of the virtues of being a black belt is to pass your knowledge on to others, to help others achieve the same things which you have achieved for yourself. If you cannot make it work for yourself by being self-deceived in breaching your own values, then you cannot help others. Therefore, you forfeit your ability to lead. A black belt is one who does not deceive through forfeiture.
And last, a black belt means respect, to honor and esteem the self. Why respect? It is very important, because, without it, none of the above would have any meaning. Without maintaining the responsibility to strive for self-respect, you would be devoid of any virtues or attributes which would appeal to anyone. The integrity of your self-respect must remain your top priority if you wish to wear a black belt proudly. The black belt has no meaning to others if you are not proud of it and wear it responsibly.
Cum Corde Et Animis
Many government buildings in Washington D.C. have a Latin verse. Every state flag in the Union has a Latin motto. On my Black Belt certificates I have a seal and it reads Vis, Sapentia, Spiritus. This is Latin for Strength, Wisdom, and Spirit.
Our fighting motto is Cum Corde Et Animis. Cum Corde means “With Heart”, to execute with profound conviction. Heart is what you fight to defend. Ego is what you fight to gain. What you really are is what you fight to defend. Et Animis means, “And Having or With the Spirit of Courage.” For me, this represents the force of one’s fighting spirit.
The Sword of Will
Any style can give rise to black belt ranking. The example of our black belts builds a foundation for others. There exist several attributes which may determine what represents a strong black belt. It could be anything from heart, to courage, to toughness or passion. What then, is a fighter’s greatest strength? It is the authority of a fighter’s will.
The strength of our black belts is built on more than just the confidence in what they have learned, or those skills which they can execute effectively. It is based on more than just one’s past successes and accomplishments. It is much deeper. It is confidence in what makes it possible for each of us to acquire knowledge, develop skills, and achieve successes as a black belt. It is the experience and confidence in our ability to think, in our consciousness and how we choose to effectively use it. It is a trust in our mental processes, and as a consequence, an attitude to always expect positive results from our efforts.
In a way, the black belt symbolizes a force, and this faculty exists within each of us. The energy within that force is what I call the spirit, and in the end, what this all amounts to is growing. The True Martial Artist is one who can mastermind creating the right conditions for his physical attributes, his psychological nature, the situations to which he adjusts, enabling himself to fully develop in becoming a healthy black belt. And likewise, a compassionate leader is one who cares enough about others and has the spiritual energy to mastermind not only his growth, but additionally, a large body of others who respect his ability to lead. One has to lead not just by example, but by providing others with not only the knowledge, but the inspiration to create a stronger purpose in their lives.
By reputation, my black belts are basically good teachers and tough contact fighters. The signal I wish to send is how important should be the character fiber of a genuine Black Belt. A healthy philosophy and a strong training constitution will give you the vision to create your standards and the courage to make them work. One needs to continue setting the highest standards, constantly raising the bar, in creating a vision of dignity as the ultimate pathway for all future black belts to follow. In spirit, the Black Belt should be something every youth looks forward to earning.
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