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What Karate Means to me
By Eamon Petersen

     In one of my first few classes I went to I noticed that basically no one had their full ghi’s on. I was obviously still pretty fresh at the dojo and the ghi was a really cool, awesome new thing that I got to wear. I thought that everyone was crazy for not wearing theirs to every single class, because it was part of the karate uniform. And when I was wearing the ghi it felt like I was officially doing karate. It felt like it was symbolic that I was a part of the Dojo, because at that point I didn’t know anyone in my classes.  So I made the decision that I would wear my ghi to every class until I was a black belt. So after three and a half years of karate, I can say that I have gone to every class in a full ghi. It feels like a way of showing my commitment, and also my love of karate and the Dojo I am lucky to go to.

     I have made many friends at the Dojo and there is no one that I really dislike beyond minor grievances. This is important to me because at the Dojo we all share an enjoyment of martial arts, and people are just generally nice to each other, making it very easy to work with people you don’t know very well.

     The Dojo also has some amazing teachers. My first promotion I almost didn’t go on the mat because I was so scared. Sensei Zach helped calm me down and I was able to go on the mat and do my blocking system. It was simple, sure, but doing it in front of all those people was an amazing, if nerve-wracking, experience that would have missed out on If sensei hadn’t taken time to help me. I’ve learned a ton from the Dojo, and I feel like it’s helped me grow much more than I initially thought it would. I’ve learned how to be a kinder person, show respect, and most importantly in my opinion, accept that there is always someone who is better than you. It’s amazing to see what our instructors can do, and I really appreciate every little thing my teachers have done for me.

     I also really appreciate the community, and the people are all great. I’ve met friends that I never even would have seen if I didn’t go to karate. Every bootcamper who is going for their junior black belts are my good friends. It’s interesting to see different people’s approaches to karate. In my opinion watching friends do their techniques or forms is just as interesting as doing it yourself. Even the people I don’t talk to much or even go to classes with are interesting and I know that I can learn something from all of them.

     A good example of this is when I was chosen to do joshu. Almost everyone could go up and demonstrate combination eight. But when I went up I choked. I couldn’t remember the steps. I felt silly, I was a mess. Still kinda am, but I'm learning. Sensei Erin is a great person to learn from and I really am glad that I eventually chose to do it. Doing joshu has also given me a peek into what being a karate teacher is like. I can really value my teachers even more after seeing what they do so many times a day so many times a week.

    All in all karate has really shaped my adolescent life, and I wouldn’t trade my time at the dojo for anything. I’ve grown to appreciate the people, teachers, students, everyone. I’m so happy that I have this opportunity and wish that everyone could go here. I’ve learned great things I’ll use my entire life, it has taught me discipline, responsibility and so much more. I love the dojo and It will stay with me for a long time. And I hope being a black belt will be even more exciting and I will learn even more.

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