In my journey as a junior black belt candidate, I realize it involves many characteristics. Some of these characteristics are courage, strength, honor, responsibility, pride, loyalty, integrity, and service. All these characteristics teach me the fundamentals of karate as well as the fundamentals of becoming a young man. These ingredients are needed to be successful.
As I train for my belts, I’ve learned that it hasn’t always been easy. Through discipline and hard work I succeeded. As I move up the ranks of belts, I’m required to demonstrate what I’ve learned at every level. At times I feel tired and frustrated, like I want to quit. The courage I’ve gained helped me face the challenge and complete the test. It is better to die with courage than to live with none. In the words of Shihan, “I must embrace Shotokan Karate-Do as a life long study and means of staying mentally, physically, and spiritually fit.”
Like Courage, Strength helps my body work and get strong and not just for karate, but for other sports too. The body is a machine and needs proper nutrition for fuel. Exercise and eating good food strengthens the body and prepares it for challenges faced in karate.
For a junior black belt I will honor the ways of Shotokan Karate Do, I will honor the dojo and I will honor my God and myself. An author once said, “The most tragic thing in the world is a man of genius who is not a man of honor.”
As a student of Shotokan Karate-Do, come many responsibilities. Being on time, having the proper gear, and having the correct uniform are required. It is my responsibility to make sure my Gi is clean, I don’t forget my sparing gear, and my parents know my practice schedule.
I will be loyal to the dojo, and loyal to the other candidates because we have to work together and we are counting on each other. I would encourage new students in training, be respectful towards my fellow junior black belt candidates, as well as my teachers, parents, and coaches, I will take pride in my family, my dojo, and my schoolwork. Living with integrity, learning to ask for forgiveness, to apologize when I’m wrong shows and demonstrates pride.
The last characteristic in becoming a junior black belt is service. All these character traits that I have written about, lead to the most important one and that is service. Serving my life, my dojo, and my community are all positive things that define who I am. Giving back to my community will enrich the lives of many people.
As I look back through my journey, I am grateful to the people who have supported me in becoming a junior black belt. I have made new friends that have paved the way, through their examples, in becoming an honest, spiritual, hardworking person. I’d like to thank Shihan for all his expert skills and knowledge in training, his encouragement and his ability to run a respected dojo. I’d like to also thank the Senseis and black belts for their instruction and time helping me. I’d like to thank my parents and sisters for supporting me and driving me to karate and tournaments. I’d like to thank my cousin Aidan for encouraging me to come and try out karate. Last I would like to congratulate Jacob and Noel for their commitment and journey in becoming a junior black belt. We are one, we are united, and we will conquer as the next junior black belts.
By Jacobe, Jr. Black Belt