Dragon Gym:  Black Belt Essay

What does becoming a Dragon Gym Black Belt mean to you?

By John Reilly

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  1. It has always been a goal of mine to achieve a Black Belt in Martial Arts.  Why?

    1. To develop discipline & focus-  Our training requires discipline and focus, which carries over into the rest of my day-to-day interactions.  I find I have more self-control in anger situations; more focus amidst distractions.  The commitment we need to make to training week after week, year after year, fosters discipline.  Discipline enables perseverance, and perseverance is the single biggest determinate of success.
    2. To learn the skills required to complete the techniques properly -  Dragon Gym offers a rich teaching environment on proper technique, both for safety and effectiveness.  The movements and routines are often complicated.  When Poomsae are done correctly,  they are mesmerizing to watch, and become an internal source of pride once understood and completed effectively.
    3. Self Defense - While I hope to not have the need to use violence to defend myself or family, having the skills and then practicing the skills regularly brings a certain peace-of-mind.   Having martial skills brings an increased responsibility to avoid or deescalate situations to reduce the likelihood using them.  Having the inner confidence associated with the skills is an advantage – and it likely express an outward sign of confidence, potentially giving an attacker pause.


  1. Health

    1. Maintain good health – Martial Arts is a lifelong pursuit.  I started in my late teams, now I’m in my forties.  Dragon Gym offers a holistic approach to training and health, supporting good habits via conditioning, strength training, nutrition, hydration, and rest.
    2. Conditioning for other sports and activities - The conditioning provided in the Dragon Gym curriculum provides a fantastic foundation for successful enjoyment of other physically demanding sports/activities.
    3. Mental Health -  I know my confidence and peace of mind have improved through my training at Dragon Gym.  This intangible is difficult to quantity yet is one of the greatest benefits of training at Dragon Gym.  I can honestly say that every single time I’ve left Dragon Gym after training, I feel better than when I walked in.  That’s amazing to me.


  1. Role model for my children

    1. Completed a long term goal -  I want to demonstrate goal setting and completion for my children to role model the importance and value of setting realistic goals, following steps to complete goal, and maintaining the discipline and focus to complete goals.  It’s pretty hard for a teen to argue it’s “too difficult” when their 40 or 50 something parent can do it.
    2. Support my children as they work towards earning their Black Belts -   Not only can I enjoy watching them learn valuable skills that enhances their discipline and confidence, but I will be able to enjoy watching them train and perform, and I can assist them in mastering technique along their journey.
    3. Life-long activity we could do together -  My daughter and I really enjoy training together, and performing Poomsae’s together.  I expect it will be the same with my son when he starts training.   Having the additional connection to my children is invaluable to me.


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