All certificates or diplomas that are awarded for achievement have certain requirements that must be met before they may be awarded. If you cannot meet the requirements, then you do not get the award. You may not have attained the skills needed to meet the requirements, you may not be old enough, or too old, to meet the requirements, or you may not be mentally, physically, or emotionally able to meet the requirements. For an award to retain its prominence in society, it must enforce its requirements strictly. Any deviation from the requirements will weaken the status of the award. Giving the award just because the people tried very hard to meet its requirements, but, due to their age or mental, physical, and emotional abilities they could not meet the requirements, or giving the award as honorary award, lessens the status of the award, until at some point, it become meaningless This is true of black belt requirements and the black belt’s status.
Although I sing all the time, I still cannot sing. No matter how much I sing, no one would ever consider me a singer. Should I be considered singer just because I try so hard to become a singer? Should a person be awarded a black belt just because he or she tries so hard to become one?
As a young sailor, I wanted to be a chief. When I could meet all the requirements of a chief, I became a chief. Now that I am older and retired from the Navy, I am a retired chief. When I was a child, I wanted to be black belt when I grew up. As an adult, I became a black belt. At some point in life, just as I now am a retired Navy chief, I will have to say that I am a retired or inactive black belt. Thus is the progression of life.
At some point, a person is too young to meet all the mental, physical, and emotional requirements of a black belt and to accept all the responsibilities of a black belt. As a society, we have set 18 years of age as the legal age of adulthood, the age at which a person has the maturity make adult decisions. This should also be the minimum age for a black belt.