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1st Degree Essay by Jenna Shaffer

I have been doing karate for about 10 years and ever since starting as a white belt. While working my way up to a senior black belt working for my 1st degree black belt, I have learned many new katas and self-defense techniques. Some examples of techniques that I have learned are the adult katas, stick and knife techniques, and learning more sparring skills.

Amerikick North Penn has taught me how to defend myself from people that either have a weapon or not. Since I became a black belt and moving farther up in the ranks, I’ve learned how to defend myself from someone who is trying to hurt me with a knife or a stick. These self-defense techniques are useful if someone decides to come attack me with a knife or stick. When we practice these techniques, we talk about different places some people may try to target, like the head. This not only teaches me the techniques that could possibly save my life, but how in public you have to always know your surroundings so you know where you could go or what you could use to defend yourself. Not only in the self-defense techniques, but throughout the katas, you learn key elements that can help defend yourself from someone. Some elements are contouring, threading, and marriage of gravity. These elements could help me defend myself in the future. Understanding what to do when someone is chocking me from behind or punching me with a left and a right hook punch is super important to know what to do if you are in that situation.

Since coming to the adult classes, I have learned that not all the kid’s techniques and forms are always going to get you out of the person’s grip. Doing self-defense techniques on people with no weapon, stick, or knife, I have learned different variations of the technique. For example, if I am trying to take away the knife from someone and it doesn’t work, I know another way on getting me out of that situation.

Not only have I learned new techniques and katas, but helping with the younger karate students, has taught me more about the kid forms. I am learning the self-defenses in more detail and found new ways to teach the students. This didn’t only teach me more about the kid’s form but being a role-model and a Sensei to them. It makes me want to become better and better because they look up to me when they go up for their next belt or even their black belt. This has helped me understand more of the adult katas and self-defense techniques because I have learned the variations from the kids forms. Also, the differences to the adult and kids’ katas and self-defense.

My parents and the other Sensei have always told me that teaching someone else is a great way on practicing. This means teaching someone about the kata or form is a form of practicing and explaining what you are doing. Teaching not only the young students, but even new teens and adults that come to try out karate. Teaching helps you to think about what the next move is and also what you have to work on moves. For example, if you get stuck on a move, that is a sign of you needing to practice that kata or technique.

I am excited to be testing for my 1st degree black belt and learning more skills. I have learned a lot in the span of 10 years doing karate, starting as a white belt, to me testing for my 1st degree. I learned more about self-defense techniques, the defenses for a knife and sticks,

new katas, and becoming a role-model and someone who kids that are in beginner, intermediate, and even advance class look up to and hopefully become