Black Belt Essay
By Josephine Bridges
This is my experience from white belt to black belt. I will tell you about why I started, my physical challenges, why I wanted to quit and why I didn't.
I started karate when I was 8 turning 9. I started because I wanted to try something new. I had watched my brother who was also in karate and it looked like fun. But right before I got my yellow belt, COVID CAME 😭, and there were no more in-person promotions. I actually thought that was good because I never really liked to perform for other people. My first in-person promotion was when I got my blue belt, and I was nervous. It took awhile for me to get used to performing in front of other people, but it’s easier now and I’m glad I stuck with it.
During my journey, I had several injuries (a broken arm and broken ankle). These injuries required that I take a break from karate. When I broke my arm, I was out for a couple of months and it felt good to get back to karate. When I broke my ankle, I was out for about 6 months and it was harder to go back. I was out for much longer and I forgot some stuff and had some trouble wanting to start karate again. I was thinking about quitting. It would have been easier. I chose the harder way. There are so many kind people at The Dojo and I wanted to still be part of it. I also liked the things that I was learning and wanted to keep learning those things. Shihan Kendall said that we have muscle memory so when you forget something, your body still remembers doing it. I found that once I started, it was easier to get back into than I had thought and I’m glad I did.
One of the things I have really enjoyed is meeting new people and making new friends. Many of the people I have met go to different schools and live in different towns and we never would have met without doing karate. Working with a partner helps to build friendships and be part of a team. That's why I like working with partners. I have had so much fun at Dojo Camp with my new friends, working on karate and going to new places on the field trips.
One of the things I have learned about myself through this process is that I’m stronger than I sometimes think and that I can do hard things. An example is when I broke my ankle and arm I had trouble getting back into karate but I was strong and I persevered. I also became more comfortable performing in front of people. Boot camp has been really hard but I am also persevering and I am working through it.
In conclusion, my experience from white to black belt has been hard at times, but I am stronger now thanks to karate. It has been a great learning experience not only about karate but about myself.