The Invisible Black Belt

Have you ever done something that was so unexpected or out of character that you surprised everyone who knew you including yourself?

That’s exactly what Cheryl Ilov did when she began studying an ancient Japanese martial art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu, the Art of the Ninja and the tender young age of 47. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to walk into a male-dominated, testosterone-infested dojo and begin training. It also requires an incredible amount of trust. Cheryl had neither.

However, what happened next is truly remarkable as she embarked on a journey of a lifetime, becoming her teacher’s FIRST female black belt ten years later. In the 20 year history of the school, no woman had ever achieved such a high rank.

Hear more about Cheryl’s story and discover why she believes that there is a black belt in each and every one of us, and how YOU can unleash your personal power!

The Invisible Black Belt

A lot of people don’t know this, but I experienced a unique journey into the male-dominated, testosterone-infested world of martial arts at the tender young age of 47. To my surprise (and everyone else’s), I became my teacher’s first female black belt ten years later.

In the twenty-year-long history of the martial arts school, no woman had ever achieved the rank of black belt. I was the first, and I shattered a lot of glass ceilings and belief systems along the way, including my own. I have many funny, inspiring, and heart wrenching stories as my training helped me evolve physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Yes, I said spiritually. Because there is a strong sense of spirituality embedded in a high level and elite  martial art like the one I was studying. You are developing your own spirit (or character) as you learn valuable life skills which help you cope with anything and everything that comes your way, both on the mat and life in general.

In a bizarre twist of fate, I began training in Ninpo Tai Jutsu, an ancient Japanese martial art, in September of 2003. The truth is, I never went looking for the art. Instead, the art came looking for me, and simply would not take “NO” for an answer. I shocked everyone when I began training, including myself, because I just knew I would hate it.

I didn’t hate it. I fell in love with the art, the training, and the sense of empowerment I gained from training. Through my journey into this ancient, mysterious and beautiful martial art, I learned discovered a part of myself that I never knew existed. Ninpo Tai Jutsu helped me realize my personal power and unleash the Invisible Black Belt that had been buried deep inside me all along.

All of the principles that I learned in my training has helped me in every aspect of my life. I share these principles with my many audiences in my speaking engagements, workshops, and classes. I believe that there is an Invisible Black Belt in each and every one of us, just waiting to be unleashed to help us realize our personal power and reclaim our human dignity.

Let me help you discover yours!