A Black Belt Attitude


By Laura Probert, MPT

For healing, happiness and success, you don’t need to be a martial artist to benefit from this kind of thinking. To earn a black belt in the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do you must display its’ tenets in the dojang both with your instructors and your fellow students.  It should naturally follow that a black belt attitude begins to show up in the moments outside of the classroom as well. Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit are the main principles or beliefs, of Tae Kwon Do.  From white belt to black, over the last seven years, my life has transformed; I have experienced healing, been creatively inspired and I have incorporated the discipline of this mind-body-spirit way of life to the point of knowing I cannot fail.

You do not need to practice Tae Kwon Do to incorporate a black belt attitude into your own life.  You only need to know how to discipline your mind.

Back when my son (age five at the time) pulled me into the dojang with him, afraid to try the class alone, I knew about and practiced positive thinking.  My attitude was good.  I was already half full.  I had read and practiced all the principles of the books The Secret, The Power, Manifesting Change and Excuses Be Gone, and was curious about manifesting my dreams by using the power of a positive attitude.  I had been demoted at work, an event so crushing to my ego that it took me years to recover.  I was already searching for answers, believing that everything happened for a reason, by the time Tae Kwon Do came into my life.  I felt like I had a head start in the attitude department.  What I was about to learn was how incredibly powerful a black belt attitude was, beyond just getting me through the rough times, and how it would not only change my life and relationships but my whole outlook on the purpose for being on the planet.

Earning a black belt requires a disciplined mind.  “Discipline the mind, the body will follow.”  This is my master’s mantra, Master John L. Holloway. I thought I understood what that meant in the first years of my practice.  I related it mostly to physical achievements.  I am still learning what it means for me and my life seven years later, as it means so much more than just what you can do with your body.  I have been on a journey of understanding how a disciplined mind and attitude can uncover a path to happiness.  I have been learning about who I am.  I have uncovered the warrior in me.

Through all these years of practice, through fantastic victories, and significant challenges, I would read Master Holloway’s quote and remind myself of what to do and how to think.  I caught myself in negativity, doubt, and sadness, the “what if’s”, and the “why me’s”, and I shut those thoughts down.  I tried to watch them like someone watching a movie, and detach from them as best I could.  I remembered the words from the books I had studied and I made myself live the way they taught me.  I knew.  I just knew it was the right way to be—the right attitude to have.  I knew it would work and that I would enjoy a happy life as a result.

What is a black belt attitude?  It is seeing what is as only what is.  It is not judging or analyzing things as good or bad.  It is detaching from the outcome and just being.  It is choosing to live positively, choosing to see the good and brightness in the world.  It is remembering to honor my body and listen when it talks.  A black belt attitude is one that shines on and cares about others.  It has purpose and meaning and does not take things for granted.  It is choosing to speak words that serve the heart, your own and others’.  A black belt attitude doesn’t quit, is not afraid to fail, and encourages others to keep going.  It joins in the celebration of other people’s victories, knowing that the energy of victory will be drawn to it by doing so.  You can’t put a black belt attitude down.  If it falls, it will always get back up.

As I discovered my own inner warrior, figured out what it was I really wanted, and then focused my thoughts and perspective, my life shifted and ultimately transformed.  I opened up my own private physical therapy practice and I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream by writing my first book, as well as having my first magazine article published.  I was beginning to understand that the way I thought affected the way my life turned out.  Attitude was everything.  Knowing what I really wanted was a piece of it.  It was an important question.  What do I really want in this one amazing life of mine?  The other part was being intensely grateful for all that I already had.  This piece was possibly the most important.

Once I understood that it was about making my default thinking be about gratitude combined with the indomitable spirit of the warrior, things got interesting. This way of thinking became a way of living.  I stopped worrying about how things would get to where I wanted them to get.  I just focused on the end product.  Love.  Health.  Happiness.  Prosperity.  Connection.  This is why I am here, I thought.  I let go of the stuff in between and stopped worrying about the future.  And everything fell into place.

Have you heard the saying about how worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen?  I started to really think about my thinking.  How often were my thoughts of worry, doubt, negativity, sadness, loss, and lack?  How often were they of joy, love, gratitude, positivity, and abundance?  I chose to tilt the scale in the positive direction and really pay attention when it slid the other way.  It was sobering to realize how many times I would have to balance the scale.  I began to notice these patterns of thinking in others too.  Awareness became a focus of my private practice as well as my life.  I wanted to live it so I could teach it.

I love my life, all the crazy, messy, awesome, difficult, and incredible, parts of it.  I love what I do for a living.  I practice living in gratitude every day.  I attract more of the things for which I am grateful, because my focus is on that.  I focus my attention and precious energy on these things and try not to spend any of it on the negativity.  Sometimes I fall into old patterns but now I catch those thoughts quickly, almost automatically.  I laugh and shut them down.  I anticipate the attack, and instantly make my move, like a black belt.

Laura Probert, MPT is the author of “Living, Healing and Taekwondo,” and has practiced physical therapy for over 18 years.  Her private practice, Bodyworks Physical Therapy, is focused on the mind-body-spirit connection using corrective exercise and the hands-on arts of myofascial release and craniosacral therapy.  Explore her work and her passions at these websites:  www.bodyworksptonline.com and www.taewkondospirit.com, where you can also purchase her book!

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Bio of Craig Oster, PhD

25-year survivor of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) & Co-founder / Scientist / Advocate at THE HEALERS campaign.

In 1994, at the age of 30, Craig Oster was given the “death sentence” diagnosis of ALS, better known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” Even though Craig’s physical functioning was slipping away, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1996. Dr. Craig entered hospice in late 2008. Dr. Craig’s fierce holistic quest turned his condition toward healing and he was discharged from hospice on May 30th, 2009.

Dr. Craig co-founded THE HEALERS Campaign on New Year’s Day 2012 with a mission to:
  • Demonstrate as much wellness as possible using his integrative approach focused on diet/nutrition, mind/spirit, and physical exercise
  • Inspire people to constructively approach whatever “hand that they have been dealt in life”
  • Conduct innovative ALS scientific peer-reviewed research that has the potential to enhance the wellness and quality of lives of people with ALS and their caregivers.

Over 50 renowned integrative medicine doctors, other health professionals and scientists have joined Dr. Craig’s ALS scientific research and holistic health educational campaign advisory team.

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  1. […] to say the least.  One thing led to another and well, you can now read my first guest blog HERE, about having a black belt attitude, which is what people like Dr. Craig, and my brother in law […]

  2. […] to say the least.  One thing led to another and well, you can now read my first guest blog HERE, about having a black belt attitude, which is what people like Dr. Craig, and my brother in law […]

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