I stated at AmeriKick when I was 9 years old. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself. I was very shy and had a hard time trying new things. I still remember my first class at AmeriKick, I was excited, and nervous at the same time.  Each class was fun, and I was learning new things, and I grew and grew as time went on. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without karate; karate changed my life. Outside of karate, I was always different. I had a reading disability, which means I couldn’t understand somethings right away. That was hard for me in school. But when I went to karate, I didn’t feel that I was different I felt like I was home. I have always been told that I am loud and was told to be quiet.  But karate allowed me to be loud, and I was encouraged to be loud.  When I did karate, I felt free, like I could do anything. I felt powerful, that’s something I have never felt before. Karate helped me realize that I could do anything that I put my mind to, and let me find who I am.

Karate has helped me learned that I need to believe in myself, and that when you do you will get far with anything you do. If you put in the effort good things will come out in the end. I have learned that nothing is just handed to you; you need to work and fight for everything.  Since I have been in karate, I have learned how to set goals for myself and how to keep working towards them.  Each time I got a new belt I was setting myself up with a new goal to work towards the next belt.  I have been able to take this and apply it in my schoolwork.  Each time I had to learn new words or had to work on something in school that was hard, I have been able to set a goal for myself and work towards it.  I might not have succeeded each time, but I knew that I worked hard towards it, did my best, and learned from my mistakes.

Karate was taken away from me during the pandemic. I wasn’t in the karate school for a very long time. Everything was on zoom. I forgot the true feeling of karate. There were some days when I didn’t want to do karate on the computer because I was so tried. I hate to say that but its true. It was so hard for me. But eventually we got to go back to karate. I was over the moon when my mom told me that I can go back to karate. When I walked back into the school, I felt that I was at home. I felt like this is where I’m supposed to be. I have never felt more alive from walking through the door into the school since the pandemic started.

My sensei’s, the friends that I had made, and the dojo had become my second home, my family. They would always help me, encourage me, and believe in me.  They always gave me the confidence to know that one day I would be here, ready to test for my first-degree black belt. They would believe in me even if I didn’t believe in myself.

I have grown so much as a person. I must thank karate for making me the person who I am today. I have learned so much snice getting my black belt. I’m thrilled to be given this opportunity to test for my first-degree black belt.