The Purple Belt

The Purple Belt

From Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

The Purple Belt

A few years ago, I organized the Kick Drugs Out of America Foundation. It is an organization designed to work with high-risk, inner-city children. The idea is to teach the kids martial arts, to help raise their self-esteem and instill discipline and respect for themselves and others. Many of the kids, boys as well as girls, come from broken homes and are having trouble in school and in their lives in general. I’m pleased to say that the program has been working phenomenally well. Most young people quickly adapt to the philosophy of the martial arts.

After more than thirty-five years in the martial arts, competing and training thousands of young people, there is one story that is engraved in my memory. It was told to me by Alice McCleary, one of my Kick Drugs Out of America Black Belt instructors.

One of her young students showed up for karate training without his purple belt. Alice reminded him that part of his responsibility as a student was to have his karate uniform and belt with him at all times.

“Where is your belt?” she asked.

The boy looked at the floor and said he didn’t have it.

“Where is it?” Alice repeated. After pressing the boy to answer, he quietly lifted his head and looked at her and replied, “My baby sister died and I put it in her coffin to take to heaven with her.”

Alice had tears in her eyes as she told me the story. “That belt was probably his most important possession,” she said.

The boy had learned to give his best, unselfishly.

Chuck Norris

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