A Black Belt is a serious thing to receive. I know that I have to be disciplined and practice to be at the top of my guard all the time. I also need to know how to stop bullies from hurting me and others without engaging in a fight. I must learn to lead by example, as well as learning to be led by the example of others. I must demonstrate self-control and sportsmanship in a controlled fighting arena. I must have tolerance and be able to work hard and persevere. A Black Belt is very important to me, and I know that it must be earned with hard work.

I need to have discipline because whenever I don’t practice for too long, my skills degrade; however, when I practice, my katas stay strong and focused. Doing all the exercises develops my endurance and, in this way, I learn how to push myself to my limits without breaking.

It’s important to be on-guard all the time because you can never predict when a bully might try to start trouble. I’ve learned how to spot bullies and how to stop them with peaceful words and without fighting. I will follow the bully prevention steps, which are: First use words like “Let go!” or “Stop!” or “Go away!”, to say a few. If they don’t let go, then I can use passive self-defense, which is getting them off of me without striking or injuring them. (Just make sure to cover out with your hands open, because closed fists signal that a real fight has been established.) If they start continuously attacking you or your friends, then you can use actual karate moves, but make sure to tell a trusted adult after the conflict.

I must lead by example because if I pass the test, the AmeriKick senseis expect me to set an example, especially for the younger kids. I also must learn to work as part of a team and to follow the senseis’ instructions. I also must learn to be humble and treat my black belt with respect, as well as showing respect to other people’s ranks or beliefs.

In a sparring match, I must show self-control because I don’t want to hurt my teammates or friends. If it ever happens I must also use a level of self control on the street because you don’t want to severely injure someone, you just want to get away from them. I must use sportsmanship when sparring so the match is fair and fun (getting punched in the face isn’t very fun, of course, but the sparring gear makes it more fun.) Telling the truth is important, including during a match if the senseis or referees don’t see a strike or a dodge and call a point or don’t call a point, that I make sure to tell them that I actually was or wasn’t struck.

I also must be able to have the discipline and endurance to work hard and not give up, because getting a black belt will be no easy task. I must also challenge myself so that I will get better every time I spar or practice my katas.

It’s a great achievement to receive a Black Belt. To do so, I will have to work hard, work with others, know how to protect others as well as myself, be humble, and demonstrate self control. Thank you for teaching me how to do all that, AmeriKick Chalfont!