Started training in July 2008, age 10. Tested for black belt July 2014, age 16.
Black Belt Speech:
This past year has flown by fast! I remember thinking the time between my red belt test and testing for black belt would be long, but this now seems way wrong…I urge every red belt to train hard both in and out of the Dojo. When I was invited to test, my excitement rose, but so did my nervousness and anxiety. However, I eventually realized that building stress and “worrying myself to death” would not help; instead, it would hurt my experience…one that should be fun (although kind of in a weird way). As a consequence, I began to worry less (even the littlest reduction in stress helped) and I also learned not to fret the small stuff. On top of this, I’ve come to realize that true tests never end because every day is a test, whether it is classes in the dojo or other instances in everyday life. Another lesson I learned was to have confidence in myself. This is kind of ironic because my brother, Grant, and I joined karate in order to build self-confidence. This was successful, but after we were invited to test, I started doubting myself, specifically after class. However, this too was calmed and I realized that I was ready. So, don’t doubt yourself, because it will bite you in the butt later. Plus, realize that the end is only the beginning. As stated in a couple of the other black belt’s essays…we have learned the alphabet, now we must make words.
Throughout this journey, the Seven Ways of the Warrior, those seven very important words and morals up on the wall, have inspired me and have been needed and followed in various ways. I will start with Giri – Justice. Justice played a huge role in my training. However much I trained would have a significant impact on how ready I was. This was justice because if I didn’t train much, I would be in deep trouble, and if I did train a lot, I would feel more confident in myself (prior actions can influence those in the future). Next is Meiyo – Honor. It has been a big deal for me to honor my family and, specifically, myself through this journey. This actually sent me into worrying again, yet I eventually found that I had no need to worry as long as I kept my focus on track, did my VERY BEST, and didn’t get snippy. If I had these ‘good thoughts’ and did these ‘good actions,’ I would be honorable and feel as though I have honored my family and myself. Next is Makato – Honesty. This has been a huge one for me. Not only did I try to be honest in general, but I also learned I needed to be honest with myself. If I felt as though I didn’t do something “good enough” I would do it over again (mainly after classes). True, it did play into some anxiety as explained earlier, but I had to do so to catch any weakness I NEEDED to fix or improve. Next is Chu – Duty. Throughout this journey, I have had multiple duties at the same time. These included doing my best, honoring myself and others, being honest, giving courtesy, and focusing on my journey, along with many others. After Duty will go Yu – Courage. During this journey, courage is needed. You need courage to go through much of this. Even if moments may seem stressful or scary, you have to charge through it, with Courage leading the army. I learned this early on. Next is Jin – Compassion. I realized that since we were going as a group through this journey, we all needed to have compassion for each-other. This is a once in a lifetime thing, and for me, being able to share it with others made it even more fun. I am honored to say I can consider them brothers. Last but not least is Rei – Courtesy. Courtesy is one of the most important of the Seven Ways. Along with the other words or morals, people should try to strive to achieve this one every day. Throughout this journey courtesy is highly needed. Courtesy will have an effect on honor, compassion, honesty, and justice; so, I highly suggest to the future candidates to make sure to keep treating people with respect. I have always been concerned with being courteous, and always made sure I did so.
This Journey has been so humbling. My thanks go out to Cameron, Dylan, and Grant. You three have been great friends and true brothers (also considering Grant IS my brother). Without you guys, it would have been just about pure hell, and I am glad to have gone through this journey, and still go through this journey, with three of the greatest friends I know. Cameron and Dylan, It has been a blast training with you two and, as Grant stated, it did feel a little awkward at first (since we have looked up to you guys as Senseis, and still kind-of do). I am honored to have had you guys attend some of my rank tests in the past…from gut punches, to accidental groin or bladder shots, it was great to have you guys there supporting me, and beating me up (which is kind of support, right?) through those rank tests. I am so glad to have you guys as friends and brothers and hope you both will do well in your journeys in the future. OSS! Grant…as stated in my red belt essay, we have gone through our entire karate journey together since we took our first karate lesson (and are running that never ending track of hurdles, together). Although we have had our quarrels in the past I still couldn’t ask for a better brother in the world. You are the best brother anyone could ask for and I am so humbled to have gone through these experiences with you. OSS! To my parents, you have spent six years giving constructive criticism, paying for karate, driving us everywhere, and lifting our spirits throughout our karate journey, and hopefully you will continue to for the future (we can get our drivers licenses ASAP to help). By the way, that reminds me, if any of you see a silver Honda Pilot flooring it down Highway 20 with the entire Bend-Sisters Police Station squad tailing it, you will know who that is. Nah, just kidding. Anyway, Mom and Dad, you have also been the bearers of Compassion for helping us through hard times, Honesty for highly needed constructive criticism, Honor for being such great parents, Justice for those hopefully rare occasions if you know what I mean, Duty for being the best parents I could ask for, helping us take on new things, and supporting us if you feel the need to, Courage for allowing us to go through our journeys and for being strong through all the stages of life, and Courtesy for treating us respect when respect has been received and for teaching us how to be courteous. I love you guys. I also give thanks to Miss. Donna and Dave Moyer (A.K.A. Mimi and Grandpa Moyer) for accepting us into your lives. For seven years I have been taking piano lessons from Miss. Donna Moyer, who, through the power of music, has taught many, many valuable lessons. These include how to focus, how to do better in school through the development of the brain from music, how to play beautiful music, and to value the things that others do too (even from other cultures). Mr. Moyer, you have given us much advice ranging from remedies and the correct way to replenish ourselves, through drinking diluted Gatorade…which helps A LOT…to other things such as advising us to get out drivers’ licenses…which will happen soon. I would also like to thank my Aunt Lou-Wayne who has been so kind to our family for years and has done much of the sewing for our gis and what-not since the beginning. I send my thanks to Coach JT Taylor and Bruce from Smash Fitness in Redmond. It has been wonderful to learn Brazilian Jui-Jitsu from you guys, which has impacted our martial arts journey tremendously. OSS! I would also like to thank Jarod, Hunter, Galen, Max, Josh, Jeremiah, Barb, and Gabi for training with us for so many years and helping us through constructive criticism and by being our friends. I would like to thank all of the black belts, including Sensei Debi Quan. You guys are truly inspirational and humble teachers. You are some of the best karateka I know and I am glad to have you beat me up, and if the others agree, I speak for them too, that through this journey you have all truly shown us The Way…as Sensei Wendie stated in her black belt essay. OSS! I would also like to thank everyone else I have trained with or helped through teaching classes or private lessons. You guys teach me a lot…from different applications of moves, which I had never really thought of, to even how to teach. OSS! And now, I would like to thank Sensei Brian and Kristina. You two are so inspirational and magnificent senseis and friends. I am so glad you opened this wonderful dojo, where you guys, some of the best senseis in the world, would teach. I am so humbled to be taught by you guys and am so honored to be part of this fabulous dojo. You have taught me so much ranging from how to teach, how to follow the Seven Ways of the Warrior, how to follow The Way, how to learn and perform martial arts, and how to make martial arts a way of life (along with many more valuable lessons). I am also so honored and humbled to work for you guys in the office, along with my brother. For all of this, and way more, I thank you and wish you the best, forever. OSS! I would also like to thank Sensei Stuart Quan for creating the Bushido Kai system, being such an inspiration to all of us, and for teaching Sensei. OSS! I thank the Lord for helping all of us through this journey. Without his guidance and acceptance with open arms, this would never have been possible.
Before this essay ends, I would like to reiterate three points and relay a few inspirational quotes from Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate. First, the three points: 1. Do not doubt yourself…2. Train hard and stay focused…and 3. Follow the Seven Ways of the Warrior and The Way!
Now…these three quotes from Gichin Funakoshi are from his re-published book, Karate-Do Kyohan, “The Master Text.”
1. “The word ‘bu’ of budo (martial arts) is written with the Chinese character for ‘stop’ within a character signifying two crossed halberds meaning to stop conflict. Since karate is a budo (martial art), this meaning should be deeply considered, and the fists should not be used heedlessly.” (Funakoshi 247)
2. “Force is used as a last resort where humanity and justice cannot prevail, but if the fist is used freely without consideration, then the user will lose the respect of others and be shabbily treated, while being censured for barbaric action. At any rate, the high-spirited youth in the prime of life is prone to rash speech and action, so prudence is essential.” (Funakoshi 247)
3. “…the trainee of Karate-do must consider good behavior and humbleness as the highest of virtues.” (Funakoshi 247)
Thanks to all of you for being here…it means a lot, OSS!
Oh, and P.S. …Yes, one more thing…We’ll all miss you Kristina and wish you luck for your journey in LA.