Started training: January 2010 - Age 11
Tested for red belt: June 6, 2015 - Age 17
It is strange to stand here and read this, because it almost feels unreal, like a dream. I have been training for about 5 and a half years in this school, and now it feels like I joined little over a year ago. The course of training here is rigorous and challenging; It makes you work hard for what you want, through blood, sweat and tears, and yet, it wouldn’t feel right any other way. The knowledge I have gained during my journey up the mountain is incredible, the rank tests, tournaments, demonstrations… and I owe it all to the people who push me to become better. I now wholeheartedly believe that perseverance is the key to reaching your goals. It is what has told me to keep going, even though I feel like quitting. Never say “I can’t,” because when you do, you are saying “I give up, I surrender.” You will never lose unless you allow it. Over the past week, as I prepared for this test, I thought about the quote “Fall down 7, get up 8,” and it didn’t make sense until now. I realized that you must have the courage to stand up in the first place, and no matter how many times you fall, have the strength to walk away in the end. Every single one of you here today have helped me, even if all you did was watch, so for that, I thank you. I want to give my most sincere gratitude to Sensei Brian, for being my guide up the mountain, and an awesome person. To my parents, my grandma, and the Good Thoughts, Good Actions Foundation who have made these past 5 and a half years possible. To Evan, Grant, Kyle, and Chris Gibson, who first introduced me to Karate, and have been incredible friends, and to my brother, Cole, who has gone through this journey with me, and has been an amazing training partner. Thank you!