The world is our teacher. In every moment of every day there are lessons to be learned. Some lessons are momentous, and others are subtle. Some people believe that a black belt is an accomplishment, which it is, but it is just the “first step” along the path.
When we are born, it takes us a long time to learn how to walk. We first learn to lift our heads, then roll over, then crawl, then cruise, then we take our first steps without the assistance of others, but as adults we forget how much work it takes to do these things because we walk so much and without much effort. We take walking for granted, and think learning should be instantaneous, after all, there is instant coffee, but learning is not instant. Learning happens in steps and stages. Some steps are higher, some stages are longer.
I suppose the “first step” can be a difficult concept for people to grasp when it takes years to achieve a black belt, and there are many steps along the way to its acquisition. I adopt my teacher’s perspective that a black belt means that the person who wears one knows how to learn. There is an echo in the following: “First you have to teach your sword, then it teaches you.”
Keep training, keep learning, and listen to your teacher!