On June 3rd, 2017, I became a black belt. That day will forever be one of the most important days of my life, since I achieved the goal that every martial artist sets out to reach. Since then, as a junior black belt I have learned many valuable lessons that I will carry with me throughout my time at Amerikick and as I grow up and interact more with the rest of the world. Since receiving my Amerikick black belt, I have learned more about responsibility, trust, and obtained a deeper understanding for the curriculum I learn.

Being a black belt proves that you are responsible through your preparedness and your knowledge of how to protect yourself. In order to become a black belt, you first have to pass your test. The test was one of the hardest things I’ve done, before or since. Candidates need to know all of the kids’ curriculum well enough that they don’t mess up, even when under extreme pressure. To learn all of the self defense and katas that thoroughly takes responsibility because you have to take initiative to practice when not in class. If someone have made it this far, it is also likely that they know that they are able hurt someone, but are responsible enough to know that it is wrong to do so. As a black belt, I have learned more potentially dangerous responses to attacks. However, I know that in order to use these, the situation needs to be taken into account. I have to be careful with how I react if someone scares me or tries to hug me from behind. This type of elevated responsibility has taught me how to prepare in advance for something I know will be hard and how to quickly assess a situation, being aware of the skills I have but not necessarily using them.

In addition, there is a different level of trust developed at the black belt level between myself, my classmates, and my senseis. When learning complex self defense, such as ground defense, it is often easier to do the technique on someone else. To do this, I need to be able to trust that whoever I am partnered with and be sure that they know what they’re doing and won’t end up hurting me. I also need to ensure that they won’t mess around and will be a good partner, reacting the way they would react if I hit them with full power and helping me if I don’t understand what to do. The more difficult and dangerous the technique, the more trust needs to be developed. I have learned to work with my classmates and develop relationships full of trust based on what we do together.
As a black belt, I now learn different material and have the ability to help out with classes. In Short One, Long One, and Short Two, there is a different aspect of defense introduced. In Short One, it is blocking; Long One, blocking and retaliating; Short Two, blocking and striking at the same time. Through these katas, along with blocking, knee, and elbow sets, I have developed a new way of looking at simple moves. They can be used in different ways to block a strike or retaliate. Along with understanding simple moves, I also have started helping teach classes when I have spare time. Explaining to kids how to do katas and self defense techniques has made me look at them closer to figure out why or how certain things are done. Through this, I have learned more about how the techniques work and how an attacker would react to them. I can then apply this to the newer, more complex techniques I am learning to better understand them. My new knowledge of adult curriculum and understanding of self defense techniques has allowed me to better figure out and grasp the concepts of karate.
To conclude, having my black belt has allowed me to further my levels of responsibility and trust, as well as understand karate. I can use the knowledge of responsibility and trust when meeting and interacting with people and the knowledge of karate to better protect myself. I have worked hard to get to this point and I look forward to continuing as a black belt.