It was September 1991 at the Rec Center on the Bemidji State University campus. My Tae Kwon Do instructors, Masters Spencer and Cindy Brandt, lined us up. There were roughly 20-30 brand new white belts.
"Statistically, out of all of you," Spencer said, "only one will become a black belt."
My friend, Mike, stood next to me. We knew this was a challenge for us. We both wanted to become a black belt.
And we did.
We defeated the odds.
However, it was only the two of us. The rest had gradually dropped out.
Why is this? Not everyone will take the commitment and energy to train long-term in the martial arts. In the end, I achieved a 2nd degree black belt status, but then I moved away and haven't taught anyone since.
This brings to mind a writer's commitment to writing. In May of this year, the writers group I had been a part of for close to 15 years disbanded with only two of us left. My friend Evelyn and I were the only constant writers left who were committed to attend . . . until we decided to finally call it quits on the tri-weekly meetings.
This goes with any creative endeavor. Take music. I'm a child of the 1980's hair metal era. I love, and still do, that music. I can listen to it all day and night. But how many are still around. How many died with the emergence of the Seattle music scene (i.e. Nirvana)?
It's difficult to take on something long-term. Even marriage can be like this--my wife and I have been married for 21 years, and we're both committed to keep it going to the end.
How committed to your art are you?