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1st Degree Essay by Matthew Shaffer

It has been 10 years since I started my karate journey. From receiving my white belt to earning my Black Belt, I have learned that karate is not only a sport but a way of life. What I have I learn since receiving my Black Belt is that I still have a lot to learn, even after 10 years.

Since I received my Junior Black Belt, I learned that there is a whole part of my karate journey that I still have not discovered. I learned that the most basic techniques can save you than a very advanced techniques that might only work in a specific situation. I learned what it means to be a Black Belt and how to be humble about it. I learned how to be a leader and set example for the ones behind us. I think it is important to know that whatever you do kids will follow. I think one of the hardest things about being a black belt is learning to accept that you do not know everything.

My Senior Black Belt taught me responsibility. I have been lucky enough to be able to help other senseis, while they are teaching. I have also been chosen to help out during camps in the summer. A huge part of responsibility is with kids. Kids are the future of karate and the world, so it is important to teach them right and wrong and how to deal with conflict. I have been working with kids for some time now and I can tell you that it is not easy. I see a lot of issues about who is wrong and who is right. Especially when they are learning something new like a kata or a self-defense technique. I think it is important to keep an open mind about everything and that just because you been here longer, or you have a higher belt does not make you right about everything. I try to pass this on to kids that need this helpful reminder. I think it is important that I can help kids get on a good path as a person and in life.

I have learned katas that teach me things and not just the movements. I learned that Some katas like Mass Attacks are all about multiple attackers, short and long two are about angles. Long one and long two are about advancing and short one is about retreating. Short three is made up of self-defensives. I also learn how to look at opportunities that I can use in a situation. I learned why I do the movements I do and what they do to other people. I used to do defenses because I was told too but I now know why they are there.

Karate has taught me so much and It will always continue to show and teach me things. I think karate is a good part of my life it keeps me balanced physically and mentally. I learned that karate is not just something I go to, but it also influences my choices throughout the day. I plan on staying in karate for a long time.