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My Blackbelt Essay: A Journey

By Maggie Himmel

    Hello, my name is Maggie. I am going up for teen black belt and this is my crazy journey. We will start with that I have been with by The Dojo for over 7 years. The Dojo is like a second family to me. Through my time here I have made life long connections, and learned so much. At the beginning I had gone consistently to The Dojo for years and my father was very active in The Dojo as well. Then my mom got diagnosed with cancer and I continued at The Dojo. The Dojo community was so supportive for my mom and it meant a lot to her and my family.

    Then the pandemic hit a few years later and everyone had a pause for longer than everyone expected. I tried my best to stay connected by taking virtual classes and later outdoor classes. However, because of family health problems I waited longer than others to come back so I was behind. Finally we came back and I realized I knew a lot of what I forgot; it was all there. You see, what you learn at The Dojo stays with you for the rest of your life. In the beginning I thought I wouldn’t come back. I was so far behind because everyone came back before me. All my friends were going up for their next belts, but I wasn’t ready yet. However, I stayed. I came multiple times a week and I worked super hard to learn everything I needed to. Now I feel that I am ready to receive my next belt and I am really glad I put in all that hard work because I think it really paid off. 

    Now that we finished that adventure for now, I can tell you about my responsibilities I will put forth in myself as a blackbelt. In The Dojo we all go to classes to learn and improve our skills; class gives me a chance to put all I have on the table and show everyone what I can do, and that’s what I will do at the test, ceremony, and for the rest of my life.


    This reminds me of what the instructors said at bootcamp, “never walk, run.” This one: means that I do listen to what they say, and two: it is a really good example that shows to always do your best, your one hundred percent, and never less. To me, this is my responsibility to always give my one hundred percent to all that I do. Another responsibility I have as a blackbelt is to not only be a mentor in class for others but in every setting I am in. In karate we learn how to persevere, be brave, and be determined. I can use these skills to not only better my life, but others as well. I can show others that they can be brave and persevere through life as well.


    Finally, I think that being a blackbelt definitely shows you have skills and can be a threat, but it also means that you can help and protect others. If you see someone else in danger who doesn’t have the skills to protect themselves you can either find an adult (because as a younger person it’s not always your place to step in), but if you need to you can find a way to help that person without putting yourself in a chance of danger. To help people and show them what they are capable of is a gift not everyone has the chance to use and I am grateful that my karate journey has allowed me to equip this skill. My karate journey has been crazy and very eventful, but I am so grateful to receive this next belt alongside my siblings, and add more to my wild karate adventure. 

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