Being a black belt means many things to me, but most prominently it means that I’ve lived up to the Amerikick Creed.

As an Amerikick student I’ve work hard: I’ve learned that “I can’t” is only an excuse and shown myself that “I can” overcome obstacles and challenges thrown my way. When I first committed to taking karate classes, I created a goal of black belt excellence and continued to dedicate myself to accomplishing it. From the day I learned to tie my own white belt around my waist, I knew that I was to engage myself in a long journey, however I never considered just how long my journey would be. I realize now that following every achievement, I can always find ways to further improve myself and my skill set.

 I’ve aimed high: Every day when I look in the mirror, I hold myself to a higher standard and push myself to be better than I was the day before. One of my favorite quotes by Ray Kroc, states “the quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”  Through many years of practicing martial arts, I’ve seen this demonstrated repeatedly and it’s helped me to not only be resilient and get to the point I am today in karate, but also academics and many other sports. In addition, I’ve also taken the lessons I’ve learned and used them to motivate my self-improvement.

From when I was six to now being fourteen, I’ve competed in many tournaments, which has aided me to gain confidence and learn about competition. While I’ve had many great achievements throughout this time, I certainly wasn’t perfect the first time I tried something new because if I had, then I wouldn’t have been challenging myself enough. From the times that I hadn’t achieved my goals the first time I’d attempted to, I’ve learned to refocus and improve for next time. Being a black belt means to me that I’ve acknowledged my weaknesses and turned them into strengths.

Finally, as a young teenage girl, being a black belt means to me that I’ll be one example of the many girls that have achieved the same level of expertise that boys have. This is important to me because there’re so many girls that are told they can only be categorized under weak femininity and to me, being a black belt shows that all genders are equal and girls can be just as, if not more, athletically talented and skilled as the opposite gender. 

Finish what I start: After eight years, being a black belt means to me that I won’t stop what I started until I’ve reached my finish line. Throughout my journey I’ve learned so much that I will keep with me for life and I will never forget what being a black belt means to me. After all, a black belt is a white belt that never quit.