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Black Belt Essay by Matthew Pimpinella

Since becoming a Jr Black Belt I’ve learned to stay motivated even with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is an auto-immune disease that affects my intestines. Often times it leaves me fatigued, weak, and in severe pain. I have to take many medications to control the flare ups which made my spleen enlarged right before I was supposed to test in June 2019. I had to put martial arts on hold due to my medical complications. I was able to restart karate in November, after an 8 month break. During my time off I continued to practice katas and self defense techniques in the air. I stayed motivated and now I am back and going to test and get my Sr black belt. Since restarting I’ve sparred, done self-defense, katas, and I’ve participated in the black belt demo team. I’ve overcome many obstacles since returning, fighting through pain and two hospitalizations but still demonstrating that indomitable spirit that is a characteristic of a black belt.  I would be doing none of that if it was not for staying motivated and determined. I have had lots of help and support from my AmeriKick North Penn senseis, friends, and family. Because everyone was so supportive, it taught me to be supportive.  I cheer on my classmates and encourage the younger belts to keep trying. I will volunteer to demonstrate a move in class to assist others with the techniques.  I always try to do what’s best even when no one is watching. I have more responsibility at home, I do more chores and help when needed. I even have to watch my little brother at times and if you know Michael you know how difficult this can be. I really have to demonstrate self control and patience when dealing with him. Since coming back I noticed that I am not as fit as I was. I struggle with push ups and keeping my energy up. I know I have to keep pushing through and trying/giving my best effort. Once I receive my Sr Black belt, I plan on doing the adult classes to further my knowledge in kenpo and self defense. Hopefully Sensei John and Sensei Sherry will allow me to help instruct the younger belts because I feel like I am a great role model. I want to continue to build my character and strive for excellence. I applied my focus and self discipline to my school work. I received Distinguished honors for all four semesters. I really had to show self motivation and integrity to complete my school work on time, especially during the Covid distance learning. 

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