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In Martial Arts


									In Martial Arts, Different Schools Have Different Rules
Most forms of martial arts require a balance between the mental, physical
and spiritual to reach the top. In fact, martial arts are often
considered spiritual disciplines as much as they are physical ones. In
Taekwondo, for instance, morality and spirituality are just as important
as physicality, considering Taekwondo focuses on truth and justice rather
than on power and might. When it comes to determining the appropriate
level of moral and mental development required for advancement, different
schools and different masters set their own unique standards.
Taekwondo Master Al Quiceno, who runs the Panthers Martial Arts school in
Suffer, New York, says that every school is a little different, as they
depend on the master's requirements. In Quiceno's case, students have to
prove their responsibility by taking care of a raw egg for a week. They
have to create a scrapbook that demonstrates their understanding of the
history of Taekwondo, as well as other assorted techniques. But the
trials don't end there. In order to get a black belt, Quiceno's students
have to take him on at chess, as well as display their peak physical
condition with a three-mile run and 1000 repetitions with a skipping
rope, on top of their typical sparring sessions.
Far from being unusual, Quinceno's standards seem to be the norm, as
students at Westchester Martial Arts Academy in Eastchester, New York,
have to undergo similar trials before they reach the coveted black belt.
Chuck Giangreco, an instructor at Westchester Martial Arts Academy,
requires his students to pass an oral exam, as well as run martial arts
classes so that they can prove their communication and leadership skills.
In addition to the standard martial arts routines, he also requires
students to pass running, push-up and pull-up tests. According to
Giangreco, achieving a black belt is akin to a form of higher education,
which justifies all the extra work and additional requirements.
JoJo Guarin, a Jiu-Jitsu instructor at Gracie Barra Academy in White
Plains, New York, says that mental toughness plays a big role in
obtaining a black belt, but that there are other factors that are equally
important. At Gracie Barra, for instance, attitude is essential to
advancement. Guarin says that students who display a general bad attitude
to life will not be awarded a black belt as it will reflect poorly on
their instructors. So, while students may be at the peak of their
physical powers, and perform equally well in a variety of cognitive
tests, unless they display a positive attitude to life, they will be
denied the ultimate prize in martial arts.
Bruce Lee, who is probably the most famous martial arts practitioner that
the world has ever known, did not subscribe to the notion of belts, but
that is not a philosophy that sits well with many modern day instructors.
Giangreco feels that the belt system is extremely useful, as it keeps
people striving to achieve more and constantly improve. This opinion is
endorsed by Cynthia Estevez, a 17 year-old Taekwondo practitioner from
Panthers Martial Arts. Estevez says, "Just being a black belt is a big
deal ... It's a cool thing because it's not something a lot of people
have, so it's special."
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