Started training: July 2006, Age 10
Tested for red belt: October 8, 2010 at age 14
"I've been taking karate for a little over four years and its been awesome. This seems like the only sport I've ever had success in. One part of this is that when you get partners, you are matched to size and not age; this is important to me because for most of my life I have been the shortest one on the team/or in class.
I enjoy karate because its challenging, physically demanding, and you can always get better at it. I think the highlights of karate are the rank tests . Rank tests help you determine your rate of improvement, and help you find a new limit in power and technique. Aside from being a test of knowledge, it is also physically exhausting. This shows how hard and how long you can go even when you're tired. It is an accomplishment to finish one doing it at your best.
In between rank tests,without the pressure of an upcoming test, I have found that the amount of time I spent practicing would drop quite a bit, along with the power behind my movements. I think that helping in lower belt classes has helped me a lot with remembering my kata and Japanese kihon commands. Through teaching, I have become even more familiarized with the curriculum.
Through the four years of my training, I found that my biggest weakness was the intensity of my movements. I think that one of my strengths has been keeping good technique in my movements.
During the B2 test, I felt that I was pretty well balanced with power and technique, though I have never been more tired or stressed before. I was especially stressed during the sparring, with the constant strikes against me from two fresh opponents, and then from sensei, who kept pushing me to go harder.
To those who plan to go all the way to black, I would advise to practice at home. Though you might be able to get through white, yellow, and maybe blue belt without practicing on your own, it always helps and you will definitely need it on your way to higher belts."