A black belt of mine recently wrote this for a class and her Dad forwarded me a copy with the permission to share. I’m glad I could help to make a slight difference in her life. I am sure that Maggie will accomplish great things.
Below is Maggie’s paper, Please enjoy:
10 September 2018
Pushing through the glass door I was greeted with my reflection and the reflections of strangers. Men, women and children all dressed in matching white costumes with colorful belts as accessories. The ongoing class came to an end and people started to flood out of the building. A fit, bald man approached us with a confident Boston accent. Immediately I noticed that even though he was the leader of the class, he was not wearing a black belt. I asked “Why is belt dark blue and not black?”. My dad nudged me and gave me a disappointed look. His reply was, “In our form of karate the highest level of belt is the dark blue belt, this symbolizes that the journey is never over and there is always room to improve.”
My father and I were told to take our shoes off and follow him to a storage area to pick out my own uniform. The vibrant multi-colored plush floors were cold but oddly comforting. As the two adults were talking and searching for my clothes, I was distracted by the tall fun-house mirrors that lined from the floor to the ceiling. Finally, after what seemed like centuries I was given the odd set of clothing.
I walked in as if I was walked into a room full of wild animals, I did not know what to expect. This was a new environment for me and my anxiety was through the roof. Even though my parents were sitting no more than fifteen feet away from me, I felt alone. The class started out with some bizarre language that I have never heard of. Impatiently I was waiting for them to teach me all of their sick karate moves so I could go out and kick some butt. Unfortunately, I really did not learn anything from the class except to answer questions with “yes sir” and “no sir”.
After several classes, I was hooked. Even though the learning process started slow, I wanted to learn more and more every day. I was told I had a “God given” talent, when really all I desired to do was to be better. When I got better I was craving awards, trophies, plaques, swords, medals, etc. It was not until two years later did I notice that karate was so much more than “kick butt” moves and rewards.
My outside life had been substantially impacted by karate. I am motivated to put 110% into all my classroom assignments. My desire to be the best that I can be in and out of the classroom had increased. The little things I do everyday to show respect for authority and my elders, such as acknowledging them and making eye contact when they talk to me. I matured at a rate that none of my peers could keep up with.
From day one in the dojan I was told that “there is always room to improve”. Now I believe that I am slowly but surely improving myself everyday. In karate I realized that I was being taught so much more than self-defense; I was being taught respect, self-discipline, and how to strengthen my self confidence.
A new environment is advancing towards me fast and although it worries me, I believe that I have the ability and mind-set to get through it. As I pushed myself throughout my journey in martial arts, I will do the same throughout college. The skills that I have acquired will continue to be apart of my everyday life as I approach this new adventure.