When I first started karate at 5 years old, I wanted to be able to defend myself. I thought that I could just do it for a while and be done with it. But I quickly learned that it actually takes a pretty long time to get to the point where you can use the techniques in real-life and real-world situations. While obtaining my color-belts, I learned that karate should only be used for self defense, not attacking other people. So, I worked to get my junior black-belt which to me, means that I can finally achieve that goal that I set for myself 6 years ago.

The first thing that being a junior black belt means to me is strength. Physical strength, mental strength, physical endurance and mental endurance. This strength comes from training and perseverance. Physical Strength has helped me push through exercising and making my body stronger. That same endurance has helped push me past my limits.

Being a junior black belt means having mental fortitude. It means not being able to be influenced by outside sources and being able to see what is the right decision even through pressure. This can be shown in the dojo by not being distracted and focusing on the task at hand. That same mental fortitude can also be shown outside of the dojo by not letting your friends goad you into doing something that you don’t want to do, and also by convincing them why they shouldn’t do it either.

Respect. This is probably one of the most important things that you can learn in life in general. I was first taught about respect by my family as a very young child. When I started karate at age 5, I was told that I should bow to my senseis as a sign of respect. Over the course of the years, I have learned how important this is just to be successful in life. Working towards becoming a junior black belt has taught me to respect the art of karate and the craft of martial arts. To be a junior black belt means that I respect myself and my peers. It means respecting the sport and not using it irresponsibly.

Being a junior black belt also means being part of a team. This means participating in line drills with my peers. We have helped each other with our stances and various techniques. Over the course of my instruction, I have learned that being part of the Amerikick team is like having another family. We have spent many hours practicing together, laughing together, and celebrating. Being a part of this team has helped me grow as an individual. I would not not be where I am today without the support of my team (friends and senseis).

In conclusion, being a junior black belt illustrates all of my efforts that I have put into my craft and my growth as a person. Attaining junior black belt status is a collection of my mental and physical growth. It serves as a stepping stone to my next journey… senior black belt. I will carry the title of junior black belt proudly, knowing that I am a representative of Amerikick Lansdale.