Since receiving my Amerikick black belt, I have learned and gained many important qualities. I have learned the value of perseverance, motivation, dedication, leadership, and friendship. Throughout the past year and a half, I have applied all of these aspects into my life and have become a better person, in and out of martial arts.
While I was noticeably more confident and friendly with people my belt, I was more uptight and shy around black belts, even if they were my age. Unfortunately, most of the people my age were already black belts, so I felt as though I did not fit in. Many people would try to come over and talk to me, but I would shy away and only respond with a couple of words. I really did want to make new friends, but I felt like the odd one out. I felt as though I didn’t belong because I wasn’t a black belt.
Earning my black belt was a huge milestone for me. I had evolved into a completely different person, inside and out. I was made many more friends, would happily talk to people, and wasn’t afraid to participate and ask questions in school and karate. My perseverance and hard-work had also improved because I could run longer and do better in sports, but I still hadn’t fully lost my timid personality. Even after earning my black belt, I still was nervous and shy around the black belts my age. I was noticeably more confident and would talk more with them, but I still couldn’t break my old habits. I knew that they weren’t mean or and different than I was, but a habit wouldn’t be a habit if it were easy to break. Honestly, I was frustrated with myself because I couldn’t seem to break out of my shell. Since receiving my black belt, competition has also become much more difficult. As a red belt, I had done very well in my divisions, but becoming a black belt changed that for me. Suddenly, I wasn’t placing very high in competitions and became very frustrated. I trained hard, but I still didn’t place as high as I used to. I had grown so much over the past 5 years, yet I couldn’t seem to tackle these problems. Fortunately, karate has taught me the quality of perseverance so I did not give up.
Slowly, I started warming up to my peers. I even joined Amerikick Warminster’s black belt demo team, which played a key role in the growth of my personality. I made many new friends from the demo team and am extremely grateful that I took the risk to join the team. I also started to rank higher in NASKA standings and was even invited to represent Team USA at the Unified World Championships in Italy. I also started to work and help more at Amerikick Warminster and Amerikick Chalfont. My desire to help came from my pre-karate personality. When I teach, I often notice children that are the same way that I once was. They don’t want to go on the mat and won’t talk to anyone because they are so shy and timid. I try to help them because I can relate to how they feel and I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I did. I want to serve as a role model to them and help them to realize the person karate will transform them into.
Karate has sculpted me into the person I am today. Earning my senior black belt is a major milestone for me and means much more than just another change in belt color. I hope to continue to learn and progress through my martial arts years and to be a role model to others. Thank you to all of my senseis for helping me to achieve this goal and become who I am today. I would also like to thank my family for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.