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Black Belt Essay by Liam Keet

 I have had my Junior Black Belt for about two years, and now, I am getting ready to try to earn my Senior Black Belt. I learned many things during my time as a Junior Black Belt, but the top three lessons were about respect, responsibility, and giving back. Those three lessons really stuck out for me.
When I was training for my Junior Black Belt, I thought that all the respect should go to the Sensei because they made it to the top. Many of the students that the Sensei started their training with quit along the way. That is why I think that the Sensei, who had stuck with their training, should get a lot of respect. The new lesson I learned about respect, though, is that you also should respect your students. This teaches the students how to act towards others and it also gives them a lot of motivation. The more respect that you give to your students, the more they want to work hard and show you the same respect back.
The next lesson that I have learned is responsibility. Even though I am still too young to teach Karate classes, students still see me inside and outside of class. I need to show them how to be responsible. This means arriving to class on time, having all of my weapons and sparring gear with me, and being safe on the mat. The more that I act responsibly, the more the younger students will follow me and learn how to act appropriately. I also think that responsibility is very important when you are trying to prove that you are ready to take on more tasks, like teaching the younger students.
The third and most important lesson that I have learned is to give back to others. When I was a white belt seven years ago, I had some amazing Sensei that really taught me a lot. Sensei Axyl has been my Sensei since I started at AmeriKick, Marlton. He was there for classes, private lessons, tournaments, and my belt ceremonies. Sensei Chris is another Sensei that has really been there for me and has helped me a lot along the way. A couple of weeks ago, the higher and older Black Belts were having their belt testing. Sensei Axyl was earning his 2nd Degree Black Belt and Sensei Chris was earning his 6th Degree Black Belt. When I found out that they were testing and receiving their belts, I knew that it was my turn to give back and show them the support that they have given to me for so long. Giving back to others shows that you appreciate all that they have done for you and it shows them that you understand all the hard work that they put into their own accomplishments.
As you can see, I have learned a lot during my time as a Junior Black Belt. I feel that even though this next testing process will be hard, my experiences as a Junior Black Belt have prepared me. I am excited to test, and I can’t wait to try my best: to show my respect, how responsible I can be, and to give back to Amerikick, Marlton.