Started training: March 2010 - Age 5
Tested for red belt: June 11, 2016 - Age 11
I am a Champion
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle
What an amazing journey this has been for me. I never would’ve dreamed as a 5 year-old starting karate, that nearly six years later I’d be still at it, let alone testing for my Red Belt. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with Karate. After my first lesson, it became normal to see me kicking and punching, as I walked everywhere.
In those first years I spent many recesses and play dates teaching katas and moves to my friends. There was a point that my dad would even ask me during these play dates, “Do you think your friends would rather play Legos or Nerf guns?” They actually didn’t, which was cool. This time period, when I played “Sensei” to my friends is one of my early memories of learning The Way of the Warrior.
When I first started as a White Belt, I was the youngest and smallest kid in the class, but this didn’t scare me. I had been taught at a young age, to push myself beyond my comfort zone. Instantly, I couldn’t get enough karate. I wanted to go to every class that I could get my parents to take me to. I would always read those important and meaningful words on the Dojo wall. Honesty. Justice. Courage. Compassion. Duty. Honor. And Courtesy. I’ve sincerely tried to take these words to heart, inside the Dojo and in my day-to-day life.
As I White Belt, I also began to learn the importance of dedication, hard work and perseverance. I learned from Sensei and my Dad, that if I really wanted to get better, I needed to practice at home on my own – So that’s what I did. The hard work was addicting because I saw the progress that I was making from being so dedicated. I was “Penetrating the Fortress.” If I got kicked or hit in the face…or worse … I would pick myself up and persevere.
As I progressed through the higher Belts, my dedication and focus to karate and the Dojo just became stronger. This dedication spilled over to other areas of my life that related to karate. One of my best attributes, is that I never give up. But sometimes that’s hard to do when your young and tired. So I decided to increase my cardio by asking my dad to help me create a plan that combined my other two passions, running and biking. Just so I know that I will always outlast my opponent, last summer I ran over 210 miles, did my own WOD (workout of the day), almost everyday, and ran a 10K in 41:00 so hard, that I peed myself and threw up 3 times. A funny quote that I like, that shows the importance of hard work is...
“Training is like fighting a gorilla, you don’t stop when you’re tired.
You stop when the gorilla is tired.”
My interest in Karate has also led me to be interested in all things Japan. I love the culture, food, language and toys. I’m really excited because I will be able to take Japanese when I start middle school next year. My plan is to hopefully do a foreign exchange student program in high school or college, so that I can really experience such a beautiful culture firsthand. Without Karate, I might never have liked Japan so much and maybe would have never been eating a Japanese snack, like dried squid, like I am doing now, while I’m writing this.
There are so many people that have helped me to in my six years at the Dojo. I would like to start by thanking my friends Braden, Sam, Nick, Will, Cade, Ivan and Garrett. Without all of us pushing each other daily we still might be White Belts. Not only are we partners in Karate but I honestly consider you great friends.
Ivan and Garret, I’m honored to be testing with you guys and can’t wait to train with you both at the next level.
Thank you to the GTGA Foundation. Without your kindness I would not have been able to do my first tournament, which was a great experience for me.
I would like to thank all the Junior Sensei’s. When I first started, the only person teaching classes was Sensei. Now all of you guys are teaching. You each have your own special styles that you bring to the dojo. Each class, I try hard to pay attention to the way that you teach, so that when I am able to teach my own class some day, I’m the best teacher that I can be.
I want to thank Kristina for all the work that you do to keep our Dojo running. Although you’re not around as much these days your presence is always felt.
Jeremiah, you have been a major influence in my karate journey. Other than my dad, I would say that there is no other person in my life that pushes me as hard as you have. Your private lessons have helped me so much and I thank you for that. I love and always want to be pushed out of my comfort zone, so never go easy on me, matter of fact…Bring it harder!
One of the most important influences in karate, for me, is of course, Sensei Brian. All of us owe so much to you. One of your best qualities that I try to emulate is the way you lead the classes with such a patient, kind and soft-spoken way. I’m always amazed at your endless knowledge, and awareness during classes. You have an ability to know each of our strengths and weaknesses, to push us just right. I like how you have taught us all so many important things that I can use in the Dojo and in life. One of the important lessons that Sensei has taught me is to face my fears. One of my favorite quotes that represents this is “The only difference between a hero and a coward is not the fear, but what you do with that fear”
Sensei, you are the main reason that I want to have my own Dojo some day. Thank you so much for being such an amazing leader.
Oh yeah… and if you don’t know it, Sensei is a real goofball. If you haven’t had a chance to see this side of him, just go to one of the Knowles UFC parties to see what I mean.
I’d like to thank the most important people in my life, my family. My Grandma’s are always here to cheer me on for my tests. My family is so proud of me that they are always having me perform Katas at all their parties. This is something that I love to share with people that don’t know karate and they are always amazed at what I have learned at this great Dojo.
My Brother, Drake is always ready to help me with my training. He is one of the toughest
7-year olds that I’ve ever seen. I know that if he ever decides to do karate again that he will be very good at it.
The last people I want to thank are my parents. None of this would be possible with out them. One day, my dad and I were just driving around and next thing you know we’re talking to Sensei and I was in class the next day. We didn’t even tell my mom first.
Now, 6 years later I’m testing for Red Belt. Wow!
My mom and I have gained a special bond training and practicing together. She is so dedicated that it rubs off on me. I’m so impressed with how far she has come, in such a short time. What’s funny is that she is really starting to scare my dad. I noticed that since he accidently gave her a black eye sparring together he wants no piece of her now.
Thank you mom.
My dad has always been a big believer in me. He is always making different cool workouts that we do together. He takes me on epic runs that I’m sure not many other dads would take a kid of my age on. Most of all, he has taught me to believe in myself, to never quit and to learn from my mistakes. He also has taught me that the mental side of sports is just as important as the physical side. Thank you dad.
I’d like to finish with an important motto that I used to say every night before I went to bed. This day has been given to me fresh and clear. I can either use it or throw it way. I promise I shall use this day to its fullest, realizing it can never come back again. I realize this is my life, to use or throw away. It’s my choice… I will choose well.