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What a Black Belt Means to me by Jack (JJ) Traversa

A black belt is usually symbolized with mastery and expertise in karate, although that is only half true. Yes, someone has to work very hard to earn their black belt, but there will always be more to learn and more to improve upon. That is why a black belt is not only the end, but it starts a new beginning. Getting a black belt finishes a journey that was started at receiving my white belt, and this journey has been going on for quite some time now. It is a journey that requires me to work hard, practice, and devote time to the stuff I have learned. At first, making two creative katas seemed impossible once I realized that I had to create them, but now I have been building and practicing them bit by bit, and I am proud of myself for not giving up. Although it symbolizes the end of this journey, getting a black belt starts a new journey. I will continue to make my strikes and kicks more powerful, my self-defense techniques will be faster and more effective, and I will continue to add to my creative katas. Earning my black belt will encourage me to do all of these things, as it is a reminder that I can do them, that I worked so hard to get it. It will also encourage me to be a role model, to help others on their journey of getting a black belt as well. Of course, I should be a role model, black belt or not, but I believe it will enforce that I receive the respect of others.

Although I started at an older age than most people, I still worked hard in order to get to this point. I made sure to participate in karate summer camp for three years so that I could utilize my time out of school wisely. Receiving my black belt would show me that all of this effort is worth it, and enforce my values of trying my best with everything that I do. I will make sure to continue following my values and use them for whatever comes next in my life. It will encourage me to work harder and I wish to continue growing in knowledge and skill. The final thing that receiving a black belt means to me relates to when I was little. I have tried karate once before at a different school, but I didn’t get very far. I stopped after getting my yellow belt, and at that point, a black belt seemed way too far of a goal to actually achieve. Now that I have a chance to get one, it’s amazing to see how much time has passed, all of it preparing me for my testing. Overall, getting a black belt will accomplish goals that I had doubts about accomplishing. It will strengthen my views and values that I use in my everyday life. But most importantly, it will pave the road ahead for new goals and new accomplishments, ones that I will strive to achieve.