Started training: January 2011 - Age 7
Tested for red belt: June 11, 2016 - Age 12
I used to look at the belts on the wall, and think of them as just random colors. And in a way, they are. Just a long piece of fabric that you tie around your waist. I know now, that these belts mean much more than that. But, when you think of it, it's not the belt its self that matters, its what you make of it. Its what you really think when you put that belt on, and step into this building.
There have been many times when I feel like sitting on the couch is an amazing idea. When I feel like just sitting back and relaxing is way better than going to karate. But, my mom has dragged me into her car, and has made me go, several times. But, the second I open the door to this building, and step forward to bow in, I immediately feel this extra strength, this confidence, and this excitement. It's almost like the building its self has its own power. And I think it does.
When I was about five years old, before I started training karate, I watched “Kung-Fu Panda” in my TV room almost every night. I would stand on my couch and try to mimic the moves on the screen, even though I had no idea what I was doing. At this time, I trained akido at a two story building across the road from my moms work, just to make it easier. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. Then, there was a karate program after school on early release Wednesday at my school. That's when I met Sensei. I trained at his after school karate program at my school for a couple weeks, then began training at his dojo as a white belt.
The day I walked into this dojo for the first time, I saw the punching bags, the pull up bars, the crash pads, the bouncy balls, the mini blue hoops on the ground, and a kid swinging back and forth on the tall bar. I thought to myself...This place is like a gym.
But throughout my journey here, I learned that this place is much more than just a gym. Its a way of life. Martial arts isn't just a weekend or seasonal thing, it's an everyday interactive learning process. It has taught me endurance, confidence, and the way to just keep pushing hard.. It has taught me the way of the warrior. When I started karate, I didn't know what the way of the warrior meant. But now I do.
Martial arts didn't just teach me the way of the warrior, it also taught me to be thoughtful about my actions. Sensi Brian first taught me respect. He told me when I started, that bowing in the dojo, onto the mats, and to your training partner, was showing a sign of respect. Then, respect soon led to the other students. He taught me that when we spar, or do self defenses, to always be careful, and watch out for each other, because that's what friends do. He told me that everyone who trains at this dojo, are all like one big family.
Over my past six years training here, I have made some of the best friends anyone could ever ask for. Such as Sam, Kade, Nick, Austin, Will, Braden, Cameron, and the rest of my dojo family. I respect all of you to the highest level. Good luck on your journey!
But I'm going to talk about my fellow red belt testers, that are also really good friends of mine.
Luke. Man, I don't even know what to say, except that he is an absolute amazing and awesome person. He is always super energetic, and funny. He will always be able to put a smile on your face, and you will want to put a smile on his face too. Even though the Brown Two test was the first test Luke and I tested together, it feels like he has been on my side every step of the way up the mountain. He is such a good training partner. He is strong, yet careful. And I sure hope I can finish the journey up the mountain, right beside him.
Garrett. We began training together, even though he was always a couple steps ahead of me. I have always looked up to him. Everything that he would do, I would try to do. He is a great training partner, and an amazing friend. If there is one person that puts a smile on my face if I see, it's Garrett. He is a kind and friendly guy. He is always making jokes, that easily make you laugh. He is probably one of the best friends I will ever make. Thanks for everything, Garrett.
And finally, I would like to thank everyone that is here for your tremendous amount of support. Thanks for always being here and having our backs. You are all amazing and awesome people. And I wish you the best of luck for any challenges that come in your way. Thanks for everything.