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What a Black Belt Means to Me by Samara Landais

Martial arts is not just a form of self defense, it is a way of life. You must be the same person you are inside and outside of the dojo. Following this way of life has improved aspects of me. My body is healthier, I have become more studious, I have more respect, I am more responsible, and I have more confidence. Being a black belt has helped me achieve all of these aspects.

Since I have reached my black belt, I have pushed myself to become better in the dojo. I have exercised more and gained new skills. During this time my body has become stronger and I am able to endure more pain. Since my body is stronger, I am able to push through more challenges. This has helped build my stamina which helps me outside of the dojo.

My black belt has helped me do well academically. Since I had moved to a new school, I had to learn how to manage the new way of doing things as well as learning the new curriculum for my black belt. I have entered the adult class, even though I am 12 years old, so I had to keep up with everything we were learning there as well. I found a way to do well in school, becoming an honors student. I have also been able to keep up with everything we are leaning in the adult class. Becoming a black belt has helped me find balance in keeping up with parts of my life and doing well in both of them.

Earning my black belt has helped me become more respectful. Since I am a black belt now, I need to set an example, more than before. Being a black belt led me to show respect to people around me and it became a habit over time. Though I feel like I should show more respect I still do show it. Earning my black belt has also helped me become more responsible. Since I had to keep up with my schoolwork and the adult curriculum, I had to be responsible for knowing my work. This idea helped me become more responsible in everything I do from school to my other extra curricular activities.

Finally, being a black belt has helped build my confidence. As a black belt I need to work with other people which is something that has scared me and still does. Though, with increased confidence, I am able to lead younger students to become better in martial arts in my Leadership classes. Knowing what I need to teach them is something else that contributes to my confidence. Before I had gotten my black belt, I had been shy about working with anyone. Now I am confident when I am helping others even though I still have those nerves inside of me.

Being a black belt has improved my life in ways I am very thankful for. Though I still have a lot to improve upon and my journey is still long, I know that I will only develop as I reach higher ranks. I am so glad to have reached my junior black belt and I am only going to work harder once I reach my senior black belt.