In the West, if you join a martial arts school, it’s a big deal when you get your black belt. The rigorous training is demanding on every level; the dropout rate is enormous and, in a traditional school, very few people filter up through the system and pass their black belt exam.
In Japan, the black belt is called “Sho Dan” which translates as “First Step.” It is basically the first point at which you have proved yourself worthy of the attention of the senior instructors in your school. As soon as you attain your Shodan, it’s back to basics with lots of lessons in humility thrown at you along the way.
So you’ve made it. You got the big job. You’re the CEO, the MD, the VP, the Consultant Surgeon, the tenured Professor, the big cahuna …
Or have you just completed your first step?