On the surface, martial arts training appears to be about strikes, kicks, joint locks, holds, and other techniques.

But, parents don’t enroll their kids into martial arts to learn how to beat someone up. They bring them to teach them discipline, confidence, courtesy, courage, focus, and to know what it means to work hard, face challenges, achieve goals, and turn into competent adults. Parents are glad, of course, when their children are stronger, have friends, and can defend themselves.

A new book series exploring what it means to be a black belt in your heart, mind, and soul. Written by a grandmaster in tae kwon do and a former university president, the series looks at this opportunity from the viewpoint of young and adult practitioners, the instructors, and parents who all have a role in growing these black belt qualities.

The books are written as parables of different students, parents, and instructors who are involved in martial arts. The stories are written against the framework of black belt qualities and illustrate positive and challenging situations. Like all good parables, they end with a “moral” which in this case is an explanation of the learning and exercise science behind the black belt qualities. These are not textbooks. They are meant to provide important life lessons embedded in the martial arts that allow us to work on the most important life qualities exemplified by black belts.

They are not meant just for black belts, but for all students from beginners to experts. They will impact the enjoyment and advancement in the art, and also in life, work, and school, as black belt qualities are universal qualities for life.

Grand Master Jin Yong Kwon
Dr. David Leasure