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Black Belt Essay by Matthew Shaffer

I have studied karate for seven years and been a junior black belt for a year and a half. Every class we practice kicks, punches and blocks. While they are important, I have come to realize there are so many other things that are equally or more important. Perhaps one the most important things for students to be successful is perseverance. Very few things come easy. They require much effort and not giving up.

Almost every time I do something new, I fail at it. I sometimes fail at doing things that I have done correctly many times before. This can sometimes be frustrating. I now know that making mistakes is okay. All of the students and even a sensei can sometimes make a mistake. If you don’t sometimes fail it means that you are not challenging yourself enough.

Since becoming a junior black belt, I have learned many new katas and techniques. Many of them are hard. I remember when I had different color belts and learned new techniques. I often thought they were hard also. I know think most of those techniques are easy because I never gave up trying to learn them and kept practicing them. I am sure if I keep practicing my new katas and self-defense techniques, they will no longer seem hard. I also now know that even when techniques and katas seem easy there is always room for improvement.

When practicing it is important to never give up and not make excuses. I am sometimes tired and have lots of homework. There is always time to spend a few minutes practicing. When practicing it is important to do my best every time I try something. I would rather practice something trying very hard for just a few minutes than spend a lot of time practicing but not giving and all-out effort. I used to not practice things because I thought it was embarrassing to make mistakes. That is not a good excuse. I now know that I can learn from mistakes. They help me decide what I need to work on more.

One of the most important things I have learned about perseverance is that it does not apply to just karate. It applies to everything in life, especially school. School is a lot like karate. We are always learning new things. Sometimes these things are easy and sometimes they are very hard. I know that if I make an all-out effort and don’t give up I can learn anything they are teaching me. I always do my best job on my homework and study hard for my exams.

I watch the senseis and I have seen them drop to staffs and make mistakes. The don’t give up the keep practicing. The senseis have taught me the importance of not giving up and so much more. I could have never succeeded without them. Thank you Senseis!