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Black Belt Essay by Xander Stutzman

Karate is something I can go do for fun, and while it’s fun, I can also be learning important things like how to protect yourself or having a better amount of flexibility.  There are many things that karate can help you do in life, and a few of them can even save your life. Karate is also something you can do to improve yourself with, and even improve your bond with people who also go to classes with, and it can even allow you to see people you don’t usually get to see, maybe because you don’t go to the same school or live in the same town.  But most importantly, Karate is an art that can do so many things to you, and most of them are shown to be for the better like as I have said before, karate can help save your life one day, it can improve your flexibility, and it is just overall fun. When I first started out, I was a nervous kid who didn’t really know what they were doing all the time, but as I continued on with karate, I soon loosened up a bit and got into a bit of a regime with it, and just having fun with it instead of hating it and being nervous all the time.  I may still get a bit nervous when I do karate, but it has helped me get through a lot of things, some things like school, hanging out with friends, meeting NEW friends, and even just going on with life. Throughout my 8 years of doing karate, the main reason I started doing karate was because when I was back in kindergarten, my teacher, Mrs. Schwartz, who is my favorite teacher, told me that I needed more confidence, and so I started doing karate, and that helped boost my confidence by a long-shot. In conclusion, Karate is something I did for fun, but it’s also something I did to boost my confidence, as I said before.  One last thing before I wrap this up, and that is that I also think that karate actually helped me in school a bit because doing all this stuff in your life should give you a few bragging rights, but it’s also kind of cool to show it off to your friends, like your actually teaching them something. You sometimes aren’t, but it can help bring you and your friends together, and that’s what it did for me sometimes just because people were like, “Hey Xander, what’s that weird spin kick called again?” and I could just be like, “It’s a tornado kick, unless your thinking of something else.” which I think is just a good way to… bond a little bit.  Karate, at its core, or at least what I think, is an art to protect you from bad people, but I have done many other things for people, not just me. It’s fun, It raises spirits, It gives you a reason to get a little exercise, It can give you a boost in confidence, it can even be a conversation starter, AND it teaches you how to protect yourself. That is what I think karate means to me.