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WHAT BLACK BELT MEANS TO ME

BY: MAXX BYRNE, AMERIKICK ANDORRA

My name is Maxx, I am 10 years old. I have been studying Kenpo Karate at Amerikick Andorra since I was 3 years old. Karate has helped me to stay focused and gives me the confidence to stand up for myself and be responsible for my own actions. I was even able to perform by myself at my school’s talent show. I have competed in many tournaments, both inside and outside Amerikick. I also was part of the Amerikick Andorra Demo team when I was 5.

Throughout my time at Amerikick, I have come to realize that becoming a black belt takes true dedication, a huge amount of commitment, self-control and discipline. Discipline is a huge part of becoming a black belt because without it, it is hard to control yourself. I personally learned this since I have ADHD and self-control has been very hard for me at times. A black belt is someone who trains hard and practices all parts of karate especially respect. I have learned to respect my friends who may, at times, be more advanced than I am. I have watched many of my friends quit karate before they received their black belt. There were many times I felt like quitting because of the several amount of sports I am involved with, but my mom and Sensei’s pushed me to continue. Through hard work and perseverance, I am finally here, testing for a junior black belt that I have wanted since I began at Amerikick as a white belt.

I am learning that earning a black belt takes several years and many hours of practice and patience. Although difficult at times, I have learned what my strengths and weaknesses are. During my journey, I have grown closer to many other students who are also studying for their black belt. We push each other by pushing each other on. By earning a junior black belt, I now fully understand that “a black belt is a white belt that never quits”. By earning my junior black belt, I know now that I will be given a new-found responsibility, to teach others and keeping a positive attitude.

By receiving this black belt, I am proving to myself that with hard work and determination I can accomplish anything. Earning a black belt has taught me to appreciate the people who saw my commitment and are willing to dedicate their time and energy to teach me. My journey will not end here; receiving a junior black belt is not my end goal. This black belt is only the first step on my journey and surely not my last. Becoming a black belt takes more than skill, it becomes a way of life and has been my life for the past 7 years.

My journey has been long and well worth it! I have accomplished something that many of my friends have not experienced. I have developed a special relationship with my Senseis. They have watched me grow and mature into the person I have become and for that I am truly thankful.