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A black belt is a white belt that never quit.¨ This is a quote that I’ve seen painted on my dojo’s walls for the past 5 years, and I have learned many life lessons from it. In karate you can learn a lot, and as a black belt you should know all of these things plus more. A black belt means to me, that you have learned so much from karate and have connected all of these things to real life. Below are just a few of the many things I have learned.

Courage. When I first started karate, I was shy and I felt uncomfortable standing up in front of the class to do katas. I was very quiet and would only kia in front of my Mom and Dad. Now I stand up in front of the class and do katas the best I can and I feel more confident. I also can be very loud when I kia in class. I do all of these things because now I gained courage from karate. I did this by getting more comfortable with all of the kids and senseis in my class. Courage will help me (and others) in real life when I need to stand up for myself or my friends. Courage will help me in school with my presentations, concerts and any other time I need to stand in front of other people.

Role model. Everyone’s (especially the young kid’s) goal in karate is to be a black belt. A black belt should set a good example and be someone others can look up to. This means listening to your sensei, parents, and teachers, knowing the difference between right and wrong, and always try to do your best. If I can set a good example for younger, white and yellow belts, I can then hope that they will follow in my footsteps as they grow up.

Friendship. When I started karate, I didn’t know anyone and had not made friends yet in my class. Since then, over the 5 years I’ve been there, I’ve gotten to know the kids in my classes and most of them are very nice and friendly. I’ve made some really good friends, such as James and Robert. I have not only talked about karate with my friends, but I have gotten to know them outside of karate and we have a lot in common. This skill will help me in real life because friends make school and other places more exciting and fun.

Strength. Karate has made me stronger and helped me with running for sports. Everyday in class we run laps, do push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, mountain climbers and much more. I’ve been doing this for over 5 years so I have gotten stronger. This strength will also help me with my self-defense skills, both in class and in real life. I will feel more comfortable to defend myself if someone tries to hurt me or someone I care about.

A black belt is courageous, strong, friendly and a role model to those around him. That is what a black belt means to me.