I thought receiving my junior black belt was the best thing ever, and then I received my letter to test for senior black belt. It made me think again about what a black belt means to me.
It means I have taken another step towards black belt excellence. I have been working my entire life basically to get my black belts.
I started karate at Amerikick when I was three years old because there was nothing in my town for me to do at that age. I thought it would be a short process and I would quit within a few months. Here I am nine years later testing for my senior black belt.
My black belt has helped me in so many aspects of my life, like baseball, school and everything else in some way.
I started baseball when I was nine years old and couldn’t throw the ball from second base to third base. So I applied myself, practiced and built up my strength. Now I play on the same size field as the MLB players and I am an excellent third baseman.
I never stopped trying and working hard and that’s what black belts do. They never stop learning and working towards new goals. A few months after I received my junior black belt, I approached Sensei Nick and asked him if I could help out in classes. Right now I keep lines straight, sometimes hold bags and learn from watching how the other sensei’s work with the kids. Eventually I’d like to lead the kids in katas and techniques and teach my own class.
My interest in helping out all started with when my little sister, who is a red right now, asked me for help with her katas and techniques. I felt so good being able to help her, I realized that’s what a black belt does; uses their knowledge to help others.
Another direction I am going in my black belt training is performing at belt graduations. I have always looked up to one of our sensei’s who uses the bo staff. He would perform and I would stare in awe of him.
Now that I perform as I look into the crowd and see the little kids looking at ME in awe like I used to look at Sensei Duncan. It is such a good feeling when kids want to be just like you, and you can tell by the way they look at you.
As a black belt you become more of a role model to the younger belt levels. It’s an honor knowing I’m one of those role models. In all my training one of the main things I have learned is that if you put your mind to it something it can be done no matter how challenging.
You can always achieve your goals through hard work and perseverance. I would like to thank all of my sensei’s for all of their help and support they have given throughout my martial arts career this far. Thank you from Aaron Swift.