Receiving my black belt from Amerikick has instilled priceless knowledge, invaluable discipline and irreplaceable leadership. The following essay will dive into these three points as it concludes with a summarization of what having a black belt means.

Priceless knowledge is a phrase that comes to mind because karate in general teaches you tangible and well as intangible skills and the intangible skills are the ones that seem to show up often in everyday life. Karate teaches us even afee different ways to handle this knowledge also. When we are learning curriculum, it takes a certain level of focus to get to the level of black belt and getting up to that point is an uphill battle for most people as they’ll have to re learn how to handle themselves if they started at a more mature age or learn how to present themselves to the world if they start at a young age. The knowledge obtained from years of karate leading up to receiving a black belt is labeled as priceless because knowing how to defend yourself in a real time situation and knowing that you know things that others may not is a large responsibility. One of the first things we learn in karate is that we are not to use it in a bad way. Knowing this and growing with this knowledge throughout the martial arts journey has been priceless.

This leads me to the next point of  invaluable discipline. Knowing that we have the advantage of learning and knowing karate is a gift  in itself but it is our responsibility to be able to continue to use that knowledge to either continue our training or channeling the energy into something else while applying the strategies and ideas focused on in the studio into daily life.  For instance, in school, if a professor or teacher assigns work that is not due for months at a time, knowing to not wait until the last minute is something much easier said than done. Procrastination is something that affects a majority of the population. Some for better, some for worse. Having the discipline to channel that procrastination into a beautiful final masterpiece in whatever you may be working on is the key to success. Beating procrastination is a times a larger task than people account for but having the discipline instilled in me by receiving my black belt with Amerikick has added to me growing repertoire to be able to go after the things I want in life and that is invaluable compared to the money paid for classes or spent on workshops elsewhere. Karate has made being disciplined a way of life instead of a part of life.

Lastly, the biggest thing having a black belt has taught me is leadership. With it having been such a long time since receiving my black belt I’ve been able to watch myself grow into a leader and a person that I knew I wanted to become. Together with the discipline obtained and the knowledge obtained from years of training, I’ve been able to achieve many things that I’ve wanted for my life but also some things that I did not foresee or think possible for myself. Having a degree in organizational leadership has also allowed me to see the world differently and how we interact with others whom we view to be “on our level” or not. Knowing the difference when speaking with a peer or superior is important because navigating the shaky waters of being “liked” by your community, being seen as agreeable by your peers and the outside world is something that doesn’t always come easy and something that some people can’t and don’t recognize. Having a black belt for these many years has been a blessing to be able to see and acknowledge my own growth as a person and as a leader. That, in conjunction with the priceless knowledge learned, and the invaluable discipline obtained by having a black belt has meant more to me personally than I can put in words.

In summation, character is built not only by what’s in the book on the papers. It’s not only shaped by what is said and done on the mat, but what is done in life outside of the studio that shapes who we are as a person and how we will be able to advance the world one day at a time having our black belt.