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What a black belt means To me by Liam Kryzak

What black belt means to me… To gain physical conditioning and strength. To have confidence, a good attitude and perseverance. To be able to protect the people I love. To be modest and courteous.  

My physical condition and strength were not strong when I first joined karate. It has gotten better. Weekly in class we do sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks, and leg lifts. Having good physical condition and being strong is good for your health and body. That is what all black belts should have and what I work towards at every class. When I started karate, I did not take tumbling. After I started tumbling, I became more flexible and learning new tricks was more fun.  

To have confidence is to know that I can do well if I try hard. If I believe that I can do it and try hard and practice I can accomplish anything. If I have a positive attitude it is easier to be confident. Attitude helps me to persevere with everything I do. When I first saw someone do a back handspring, I was impressed. I took the tumbling class and Sensei Kim taught me. Learning a back handspring I started by doing back bends over a barrel and kicking over. When I got more confident, I used the trampoline and Sensei Kim helped spot me. I persevered through months of practice and finally was able to do it on a soft mat. Confidence, a good attitude and perseverance are qualities a black belt should have.  

Karate is for defense. Being a black belt means I have learned to defend people I care for and myself. As a black belt candidate I have learned more than thirty self defenses. These defenses help me protect against attackers even if they try and choke me. I can defend my friends or brother if someone physically bullies them. This makes me feels happy because I know I can protect them and they won’t get hurt. 

A black belt should be modest and not brag about their skills. Over the years I have made many friends in my karate classes. We always compliment each other on what we are doing, help one another and cheer each other on. We have all become stronger as a team by being modest and encouraging each other.  

Black belts are courteous. When I am sparring I respect my partner and they respect me by bowing to each other and the judges before we start. I follow the rules, if someone gets injured we stop sparring to ensure that everyone is ok.  While in classes, I am courteous to my Sensei’s. I bow when I enter or leave the floor, call them by their title and never talk back to them. When I am not at karate, I am courteous as well. I hold doors for people, I help my friends with homework, help my mom when she asks.  

Being a black means all of these qualities to me.