Sortor Bushido Kai Karate

63056 Lower Meadow Dr. #120, Bend, OR 97701

Text/Call: 541.385.4985 |

Elise Knowles

November 14, 2014


Elise Knowles

Started training: January 2009 - Age 9

Tested for red belt: November 14, 2015 - Age 16


Sensei Kristina told me before my brown II test, “you aren’t the average teenage girl.” At the time I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. But no matter how I felt about it, I had to admit it made sense. Because while other girls got ready for cheer and dance practice, I tied a belt around my waist and went to go kick butt. I’ve been doing karate since I was 9 years old but honestly it feels like it’s only been a year. In this dojo I’ve gone through the best of times and obviously the mind­numbingly tough times. Back then when I started I never thought I would be testing to red belt or how much it would mean to me to get this far. When you first start karate here you have no idea how much it will impact you, or how sad it will be to know you are taking your very last test in the dojo (as weird as that sounds). Everyone in this dojo who has supported me to this point has a special place in my heart. And to anyone who has made me work for every accomplishment I have here, you have an even bigger place in my heart. I’ve learned that I cannot advance in anything if I don’t push myself mentally, physically and emotionally, and of course, love it and be passionate about it along the way. But amongst the hard work there have been times where I thought “I’m never going to advance” or times where I thought it would be easier to give up. Especially since my main training partner was myself and I am my own worst enemy. But at the end of the day I’m happy to say despite most of my friends quitting karate, I kept on training. My dojo family has been the primary source of support and made me have the kind of mental toughness I’ve always dreamed that I could have. I’ve done things that I didn’t know that I could do. And met the kind of people you dream of becoming and they have inspired me to be the best that I can be, everyday of my life. Learning along the way that I have the power to keep going even when my own body is telling me to quit. It’s hard to describe the feeling of combating not just other people but your own doubts and fears. Sometimes it is even more difficult to fight yourself. But even when you feel like your legs and body are going to collapse, there is still a voice in your head telling you to keep going amongst all the voices saying to stop and you are the only person who can silence the negative voices. My family and I have always said that this is the best dojo and that couldn’t be more true. I’m so grateful for the endless amounts of punches and kicks and the days after karate where I couldn’t even move without being sore. I don’t know what the future holds but I am really excited about it and I trust that it will be amazing and life changing. This whole process to red belt has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Simply showing up again and shaking it off and not letting things that push me back stop me from going forward have been the closest things to impossible but not quite. I’ve learned that it’s one step back and 2 steps forward. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is accept what needs to change and work to make it happen. Sometimes all you can do is dry your tears and tie your belt and go train even if it hurts you to even walk through the dojo doors. Though it meant learning some lessons the hard way, I now know what I’m capable of and only I can bring this out of me. I know that just because you have moments of weakness, it doesn’t make you a weak person. The most important thing is that you get up the next day prepared to better yourself. That’s what makes it worth it. This entire journey has been an eye­opening one and even though it was a difficult journey, I am a stronger person and life has a funny way of making you one. I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. This I know, because even when it seemed hopeless, I didn’t think about quitting for one second. I know one day I can stand on black belt mountain and say “I made it despite all the challenges and obstacles in my way.” A very inspiring person said to me during a difficult time “You are a flower below the ice, you need to break through it to get to where you want to go”. These wise words will help make me as inspiring of a red belt as those who have tested before me. I can’t give you a specific list of the people that have helped me train throughout the years because the list would be way too long but I trust that you know who you are, even if you aren’t in karate anymore. So I’ll just say everyone here who supports me is amazing and truly my second family. Thank you for supporting me and having faith in me and not judging me even when I thought all hope was lost. I’m incredibly lucky to be with all of you and I appreciate everything you have done for me I love you all more than you know and thank you for helping me have the kind of strength I only dreamed I could have. I’m excited to fight alongside some tough guys as currently the only girl red belt and continue my journey alongside all of you. I don’t know why life gives us situations that are hard to pull ourselves out of. But it is always possible to keep going and everyone in the dojo knows, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep.” I can’t thank you all enough for all you have done for me. Let’s see where this 

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