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  • Writer's pictureMaster Ash

The Crucible

One definition of a crucible is a vessel, often ceramic or porcelain, used for melting down and purifying metal. Another definition is that a crucible is a time or trial of great severity, in which different elements react and something new is formed.

In this chemistry experiment, magnesium is heated. When it is allowed to react with oxygen, it turns into Magnesium Oxide. It not only is transformed chemically but it also has a higher mass. More importantly, it is irrevocably changed.


Arthur Miller wrote, The Crucible, to show how a person is forged in times of stress. In this story, the main characters are irrevocably changed by the trial in which they have to decide between good and bad.


Each time we take a belt test, we are placing ourselves in the crucible as well. We are changed by the tested effort of the day and we mark the change with a change in the belt. We are irrevocably changed and we cannot go back to what we were before.

6 Dan Test 2011


Another “fiery” example is the failed flight of Apollo 13. 170,000 miles from earth, the crew had an explosion in their oxygen tank. The ground crew and spacecraft crew worked on a solution to rescue themselves using duct tape, cardboard and slide rule calculations.

Even in the face of death and unsure future, they found innovation and landed safely back on earth.


Easter is also a wonderful story of rebirth and renewal of life.

We currently are all living in uncertain times. We are watching how a novel coronavirus, SARS-COV-2, also known as Covid 19, has stormed around the globe disrupting lives and countries. We also see how everyday men and women rise up to the challenge. As a species, we are current being transformed literally and figuratively.

And yet we persevere. We struggle, do not give up, and therefore we succeed.

Think about what trials you have been through. It could have been a tough exam at school. Or maybe not being able to break with a round house kick. Or dealing with someone who did not treat you fairly.

We all will be called upon to face the unknown. How we approach that is the true test of our character. Training teaches us to use each moment as an opportunity to achieve our goals. The crucible of belt testing allows us all to practice this invaluable skill and gives us a successful way of applying it to mundane things at school and work and also a way through global crises and life changing events.

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