Recently I’ve been thinking more about the significance behind my black belt. To me, it’s not only something that holds my martial arts uniform together, but has a much deeper meaning. Others have often pointed to the significance of the martial arts belt in terms of the support given by practitioners who started their journey earlier, who are passing down their knowledge. Another frequent response is that your martial arts belt symbolises your personal journey: your dedication and commitment. Whilst these are plausible answers, I feel one response is generally left out and deserves a special mention. This is the support of non-martial artists who have helped make the journey possible. In this video, I explore the concept further using my own experience.


This video captures my thoughts that friends and family are two key segments of people that I’ve been guilty for overlooking the extent of their significance behind my martial arts belt. My family have been vital in terms of enabling me the time and transport to get to classes to train. It’s fair to say that they have made sacrifices in order for me to pursue my martial arts journey. For this, I am extremely grateful.

Another area of support has come from the health and fitness community at my local gym. Although these people are quite new into my life, they play an influential role towards my training consistency. This is especially because we have a common goal: to improve our health and fitness as much as possible.

It’s not uncommon to experience dips in motivation – whether this is in health and fitness, or the martial arts journey. For me, the health and fitness community have helped to boost my morale during times when I was feeling low. They encourage me to always keep focus on my goals even during challenging times. Also, their passion to changing their lives for the better gives me enough inspiration to give full effort when I train.

Parting thought

I’m definitely going to be allocating more of my time and also genuinely thanking these non-martial artists who’ve played a key part to get me where I am today. That’s not to say that I don’t already appreciate what they do – but rather, I don’t think either of us (if not just me) have realised just how significant their support has truly been! I’ve reached a wider understanding and appreciation that so many different people shape our journey and support us. Many of these people do it because they care. We also do the same. However, I think these non-martial artists should know just how much we appreciate them. This starts by really acknowledging the significance of their support.

I encourage you to have a deeper think about the significance behind your martial arts belt. Especially, think about the non-martial artists who have helped you to get to where you are today. Take a moment to thank them, if you don’t often done this. Also, tell me what your belt means to you by commenting below!

Sabrina Mistry

As a qualified Personal Trainer and 2nd Dan traditional martial artist, Sabrina combines both to deliver workout programmes, martial arts instruction and fitness classes that are designed with the longer-term health of the body in mind. Get connected on Instagram and Facebook: @beyondthedojang

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