Many people know that at our school children are not allowed to "get" their first uniform and white belt either. They earn it, by proving that they understand that martial arts is more than kicking and punching, and that at Mercer Island Martial Arts we teach, lesson one, that respect is the foundation, and the most important lesson of training. They prove it by practicing the idea at home, participating in being a respectful family member by showing behaviors such as, doing things the first time when asked, or contributing to the family, or going the extra mile in any number of ways as determined together as a family.
You can become a black belt by training consistently, minimum twice a week, for about 3-5 years to earn the rank of Black Belt at Mercer Island Martial Arts. Many adults take longer, however 3 years is a minimum time requirement set for Black Belt Testing. Most children take 5-7 years. Children, and youth, may earn their junior, or "Poom" black belt, and will hold poom rank until they develop through time, and training, the commensurate mental and physical capabilities of an adult.
The truth is, it’s about the journey, not about the belt. However, the belts serve as a way of measuring progress, learning about goal setting, and achievement of those goals, as well as a visible reminder and statement about one's ability to persevere, achieve, and experience success. Testing for belts builds confidence, helps with dealing with stress and performance anxiety, and is a proving ground for skills acquired.