Started training January 2006, age 7. Tested for Jr. Black Belt March 2012, age 13
Jr. Black Belt Essay:
There is no amount of words that could sum up what karate has done for me. But I'll do my best. I tried other sports when I was younger but they weren't for me. I even tried out a couple of other dojos and after sitting in on a few classes I started to wonder if I was even going to like karate. I'm glad my parents kept looking until we found Sortor Karate. Christmas day 2006 I received my first GI and started karate that following January. I immediately loved it. My first class was small with only two other students' Shania and Trevor. I was really having a great time and knew that I was where I belonged.
I first started learning katas at white belt and found them quite difficult. Katas are challenging because although you know the individual moves and have done them many times before without trouble putting them together with fluently can be more challenging. When you put the moves together they create something amazing and if done right and with all of your effort something very impressive.
One of my favorite parts of karate is sparring when I first started at yellow belt it was difficult like everything else. I didn't place in sparring at any tournaments until blue belt. I've had to spar a lot of different people each person with their own sparring style. To many people it looks just like kicks and punches but there is a strategy. One thing that I've developed over time is the ability to read my opponents style which is a crucial part of sparring. I really started to be able to do this at purple belt which is when most people really start to understand the technical part of sparring. After I started to understand how to read people styles more is when I started placing in tournaments.
After I pushed through blue belt knowing how Kristina said that most people drop out at blue belt I wanted to see if I could go further. At the purple belts I was pushing myself really hard, towards the end of purple 2 I started to get burnt out andAt brown belt I began to lose focus with karate and I hit a training wall. I started to wonder why I was still doing Karate. I would go to class and just go through the motions. I wasn't helping out with lower belt classes I was just taking my class and going home. This went on for a few months when my brown 2 test came I wasn't sure if I was ready, I got really scared the night before. From that point on I said to myself I'll never lose focus on karate again and that next year I regained my focus and started to get back on track. This last year as a red belt has been the toughest year of training. But no matter how much training you do it's never enough for something like this test. Karate takes a lot of work there are no short cuts that's why I like it, you're not going to be immediately good you have to work hard to get where you want to be. The same thing can go for any martial art.
I started MMA after I got my red belt. I heard about an MMA tournament and really wanted to compete but since I had no real MMA experience I started training with coach Jimmy Smith. I quickly took to the new training. Between the very hard work outs and all the new stuff it was like a new world. I'd never done any boxing before so the concept of moving my head and dodging strikes was a little hard to get used to at first since I'm used to just blocking. Another thing that coach jimmy helped me with is circling away from my opponent and using angles instead of going straight back. He also introduced me to a whole different world of ju jitsu submissions. Jimmy was a great help getting me prepared for the tournament and my jbb test.
Martial Arts have taught me so much more than just discipline, it has also taught me about true friendship. I would like to thank sensei Brian for leading through this amazing journey and helping me become who I am today. To Cameron for going into this test with me and being an awesome friend it's an honor to test and train with you. Big thanks to all the red belts for all the awesome training sessions and support. I would like give a special thanks to Seth and Ben for being the big brothers I never had. Thank you for making me tougher by way of bloody lips, endless punches, and painful leg kicks. I would like to thank coach jimmy for helping prepare me for my test and teaching me new techniques. I would also like to thank my parents for making karate possible and pushing me to succeed. Most of all I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for keeping me safe and healthy and giving me the opportunity to meet such amazing people. Karate will always be the best experience of my life!