My Black Belt Journey
By Sierra Olsen
I have been doing Karate for five years…so long that I don’t quite remember life before it. I love doing karate. Although it is hard, it makes you stronger, both physically and mentally. For example, it’s tough to hold a plank for a while, right? Planks are really hard but they help me to get better.
I have held a plank for two and a half minutes, but I know I can hold it longer if I practice. I will practice, both in and outside of the dojo to get better. Learning how to fall down is also hard. But you can do it if you believe you can. When you fall, you need to get back up again, and you need to do it quickly. Sometimes falling down rattles me a bit if I go down hard. After doing karate this long though, I can now just get up without thinking. But after a while I get tired and just want to sit down but can't. You have to learn how to power through it. I personally would rather be reading or building legos instead, but I keep getting back up to do it again. Push ups physically work your body too. You get stronger and build muscles, sure, but you also get mentally stronger, thinking you can do it. Because you can. You can do anything if you say, “I can.” But the minute you say, “I can’t,” you are right. You can’t.
Someone else who is getting their black belt with me decided to do board breaking for the ceremony. She told Shihan that she chose to do it because it’s hard for her, and she is scared of doing it. Shihan said that is what a real black belt does. This inspires me.
Sometimes I just want to stay home and read or sleep in, instead of going to class or getting up at 6:00 am for boot camp. But when I do get up and go to Karate, I am always glad I did.
At boot camp, your longest water break will probably be only 20 seconds. Plus you have two minutes to put on your sparring gear. I remember one boot camp, there were only a couple people who practiced getting their sparring gear on, who ended up having to do push ups because others were not ready. Other people took over 5 minutes. I was one of those people. But then I practiced at home, after school. And now I am able to put on my sparring gear in less than two minutes.
I like promoting. It's fun to see how much you have accomplished, getting a new belt every time you do it shows your accomplishments. This promotion, however, is different. It’s not in the dojo, like I’m used to. It’s going to be with different age groups. Also, this promotion is going to be in front of a lot more people. I have performed in front of a lot of people before. That sometimes makes me nervous. But I have done it before, and I know I can do it again.
This will be different though, because it will be in front of many more skilled martial artists. I’ve been in front of all the Shihans, Senseis, and Tashis before, but now it will be in front of Grandmaster! I have done a class with him, but that was a long time ago. And I wasn’t promoting that time. It wasn’t like getting a black belt.
But I know I can do it!