Black BeltWhat does a black belt mean to me?

Receiving a black belt was always a dream for me from a white belt to now. To me it symbolizes an accomplishment. At first I just wanted to show but then I realized the love and affection I have for martial arts. I saw it wasn’t made to be a trophy it was an item with a significant meaning you must earn. The many black belts Iíve seen wear their belts with pride. They earn it and are proud to have. I hope that someday I’d be able to show that pride to others.

A black belt is reminder of ones infinite potential. As I continue to work on self-discipline, focus and physical conditioning I have learned to be true to myself, work with my limitations, push myself beyond my current limits and do it all with pride. Although my journey has not been easy, it has come to show an acceptance of who I am and a quest of who I want to become. A black belt is also about learning to take responsibility.

As a black belt people should already know what and what not to do. For example if you’re pressured into drinking you should know that you shouldn’t do it and say no. Also if you see someone getting bullied doesn’t just pass by and ignore him/her. Tell the teacher, principal, or nearest adult. Lying isn’t good, so if you did something make sure you tell the truth. Telling the truth can set you free.

A black belt to me is about discipline and self-control. When I started karate I was very reckless and accident-prone. As continued to learn more I started to have move control of my body. Discipline is something very important to. Discipline is learning to obey rules or having a good behavior. Without discipline children and adults would grow up without and respect for others and themselves.Black Belt also means determination. It takes a lot of determination to earn a Black Belt. A determined martial artist will constantly practice and perfect their techniques while an unmotivated martial artist will get frustrated or bored with it and give up. Iíve been practicing my forms and techniques for almost a half an hour every day! Throughout my journey I have realized that only an individual with lots of determination can achieve maturity and proficiency in the art.

There is no definite meaning for Black Belt. It varies from person to person, or from Black Belt to Black Belt. I believe someone cannot fully understand what earning a Black Belt means to them until they go through years of training. Only now can I say that to me Black Belt means hard work and determination. In the beginning I thought earning a Black Belt would be easy, but now I know better. I’ve realized that Black Belt is something you have to work hard for and has to be something you really want and keeps you motivated for the rewarding end result. If not anything else, it will certainly be something to I will always remember and be proud of achieving.

BY: Ajani Adrea (Amerikick Park Slope)
Black Belt

black belt journeyBlack belt for me is not just a black belt. It is a journey. There is knowledge, experience, determination, and more behind that belt. I started karate because I had no hobbies to do. I quit soccer, the dream sport of my family, and I had nothing but school and the TV in my room. I had to find something that would become more of a hobby for me.

At only nine years old, some things were limited. I was very picky decisions and I was the type who absolutely hated to do new things. However, I finally found something that could please my needs: karate. Amerikick Karate was not only physically healthy on me, but also mentally healthy on me unlike other sports and hobbies. Plus, I loved the culture of karate and its background too.

So when I started attending Amerikick Karate, I knew that this was not only the hobby, but the lifestyle, that I needed. From that point that I started 5 and half years ago, my entire life has changed. I went through good times, with nine belts and a stronger mind and body, and bad times, with a serious knee injury.

However, all of those good times and bad times are all considered memories. So where do add up all of those memories? I am going to make my black belt represent all of those memories. Which shows that black belt to me is a journey, filled with determination, self-confidence, learning, injury, revival, and accomplishments.

Black belt represents those memories, and those memories will be wrapped around my waist. Towards my next degree, I am planning to achieve more knowledge because I feel that I could still learn a lot more on my quest for success in karate. Black belt is not just an ending but it is also a beginning, and with new beginnings learning is needed to always become better.

I would also like to achieve more confidence, in which just like learning, confidence will always make you better and people always will achieve more confidence as they grow. Confidence also can help me achieve more mentally and physically, because without confidence, how could you achieve anything? Finally, of course I would like to achieve success and when I mean success I mean success in any forms.

Whether it is mastering a jump kick, or being able to do a full split, success is vital to me. With success, not only do you also achieve confidence too, but you also achieve knowledge, you achieve determination for more success, you achieve gratitude, and you also achieve growth, and with growth, you always do better for more success. So success is what I mainly want to achieve because when you achieve success, you achieve so much more with it. Success is the reason that I will be able to achieve my black belt. Success is the reason why I am at this point in karate.

Success is what I am planning to achieve for me. Antonio Carollo

black-beltThere are many things I have learned since I passed the test and earned my Amerikick  black belt. One of the first things I learned was that you never truly stop  learning. Getting my junior black belt was just the beginning.

I learned many  more techniques, as well as refining the ones I have already learned. It has  taken enormous amounts of inner strength and dedication to get to where I am  now. When I reflect, it shocks and amazes me all at the same time. I have  learned more Katas and I have grown more knowledgeable. But these are just some  of the physical aspects of karate that I have learned since I gained my black  belt. There are many more life lessons and principles that I have learned. I can  apply them in my life as well as in karate.

One  of the most important lessons I have learned is control. It has taught me to  control myself when I’m angry. Bad things happen, and people can be mean. That  is just a fact of life. The lessons I learned in karate help me control myself  if some people bully me so I don’t freak out and say or do something I will  regret. Karate has taught me I don’t need to hurt someone to win. It has helped  me become a smarter and better fighter, and also a better person in  general.

Another  important lesson I learned is dedication. In a sense, I already had it. I  wouldn’t have made it this far. I knew many people who quit after getting their  junior, or who stopped at red. Getting my junior black belt just showed me how  much farther I could go, and how hard it would be. I learned that it was really  just the beginning. And if I wanted to continue I would have to be dedicated  since there was still so much to learn. In school,this skill has kept me on  track for projects and for homework as well. If I didn’t have the dedication to  my work, I wouldn’t be a distinguished honor roll student at all. For these  reasons, this may be one of the most important lessons I have  learned.

Another  thing that I have learned is how to prioritize my time and what I do. Karate has  taught me that if I want to succeed at something, I have to make it a priority.  I could have gone to a birthday party, but instead I went to karate. This lesson  has also been important in school. It has taught me to organize my time and put  my work first.

I  have learned many skills and lessons since I got my black belt. Not only have  these skills helped me in karate, but also in my school and everyday life. I can  only apply these lessons I have learned and acquire new ones. I will continue to  work and learn and be the best that I can be.

Josh Gold  will begin his test for his next belt this Saturday at Amerikick in Warminster  PA 215-343-2378!   

Good luck Josh!

What does a black belt mean to me? It means the world to me. It all started when I was almost 4 years old and my mom took me to a free demonstration class. It wasn’t Amerikick but I liked it so much I asked my mother to sign me up right away.

I spent the next year and a half at the Little Gym. I loved it so much I worked my way up to an Orange Belt. I thought I was on my way, but my Sensei Tim decided to move away and it was too far for me to go. Then we looked around town and found Amerikick Marlton, NJ.

My new Sensei was Chris Molaris. He was very nice but told me I would have to start over as a white belt. I was very disappointed and I even thought about quitting. My mother told me that I was not a quitter and she said if I didn’t like it after a month I could stop going.

I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone, but after 2 classes I loved it very much but I never thought I was going to become a black belt or to have come this far. The experience has been amazing and I don’t want it to stop it.

karateKarate is a place to overcome your fear with bullies. That happened to me. Some kids would push me around, but now since I’ve been taking karate the kids won’t mess with me anymore.

Karate is the place where I can get all of my problems out or if I had a bad day it really helps me forget all of it. A black belt means the world to me because I know to come this far is amazing.

What I am planning to achieve on my journey to the next degree. I am planning to get to senior black belt and teach the classes for the little kids and be a role model to all of the little girls. I want to enter higher divisions in tournaments and travel to different states, maybe even countries.

A reason why I come to karate every day is because of my sensei Anthony Difilippo. He is my favorite sensei of all time. He has made karate so much fun and has taught me everything I need to know about karate and the techniques. He has gotten me so far and I couldn’t thank him enough. I want to make him proud by achieving my black belt. I also want to become a master at my Bo staff and perfect my creative kata. I have won a lot of times in the creative kata division but I want to take it up a notch and fix minor errors.

I really hope that when I pass my black belt test I can share it with my class and everyone will admire and respect me and some people might even look up to me for what I have accomplished.

This will make me want to even work harder to achieve more goals. Karate has changed my life and I hope to go higher in karate and pass my black belt testing.

I never gave up, and I never surrendered.

Very truly yours,

Adriana Shannon

Age 10

Black Belt KarateI 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.

Aeryn Mei-Ling SmithHello. My name is Aeryn Mei-Ling Smith. I was born in Anhui Province in China and was adopted by my parents, Russ & Marley, when I was only 14 months old. I will be turning 9 years old in the next couple of weeks. I started karate at AmeriKick Karate Langhorne during the summer of 2008, when I was only 4 years old. I had taken a class with Sensei Chris Goffman when he came to my preschool to teach the kids. That August, my parents signed me up for regular classes. In the fall of 2010, I joined the Black Belt Club after I earned by Purple Belt. In the fall of 2011, I joined the Master Club after earning my 2nd Kyu Brown Belt and being asked to join the Langhorne Demo Team by Sensei Chris Millares. I have earned my way up to the rank of Red Belt, which I earned last fall. I placed in the AKL Tournament Top 10 for AmeriKick Langhorne in 2010-2011, and the AKL Tournament Top 10 for both AmeriKick Langhorne and AKL Pennsylvania in 2011-2012. I’m now into my 5th year of karate as I approach my Junior Black Belt.

Aeryn Mei-Ling Smith black beltWhat BLACK BELT Means to Me:

I have been very fortunate in my years of taking karate to have worked with Senseis who have shown me what it means to be a Black Belt, and the things I can accomplish as a Black Belt. In my early days, my Senseis at AmeriKick Langhorne (Justin Smith, Chris Goffman and Melody Waterhouse) helped me grow into a talented young martial artist, as I earned my way from my White Belt up through my Blue Belt. In 2011, Sensei Chris Millares came to AmeriKick Langhorne and took me under his wing and helped me to grow faster. I went from Green Belt at the start of 2011 to Red Belt by the end of the year. This year, Sensei Chris M. has been helping me prepare for my Black Belt testing, as well as refine my musical and creative katas. I have also had the honor of working with other Senseis. Grand Master Dennis Tosten taught my class the power of using our minds in addition to our karate. He taught me some sparring techniques that will help to protect me. I have also worked with Sensei Mark Gallagher each month during the sparring and tricking sessions he holds at his school. He has shown me how to use my height as an advantage during sparring and how to protect myself from quick strikes while I’m attacking. He has also shown me warm-up exercises that work well when I’m going to be tricking. I met Sensei Emily Cid there, too, and she has been really helpful with my sparring.

Dennis Tosten AmerikickBlack Belt Testing:

As I approach my Black Belt testing, my dad and mom have been helping me to understand the importance of this achievement. I have loved doing karate since I started, especially the tournaments, Demo Team, and the friendships I am making with other students at AmeriKick. I have been learning so much, from the katas, weapons and sparring, as well as tricking. I am working very hard, taking about 6 – 8 classes a week as I learn more in preparation for testing. However, it hasn’t always been easy for me. Being shorter than most of the kids in my classes, it can be harder for me especially during sparring. I have strived to overcome this disadvantage. My Senseis have helped me to overcome this and worked with me to turn it into an advantage. When we practice self-defense, it is harder for me to do some techniques when my partner is taller than me. I know going forward my training will only get tougher. Having friends who are already Junior or Senior Black Belts, I see how hard they work in their classes and I know that I must do the same. One thing I really enjoy is the AmeriKick tournaments. I get to meet kids from other AmeriKick Karate schools, and I have been fortunate to do well. I hope to continue as I move into the Black Belt division.

What Are You Planning to Achieve on the Quest Towards Your Next Degree:

Once I get my Junior Black Belt, I do not plan to stop there. I want to keep working toward my Senior Black Belt and eventually to 1st Degree, and maybe even 2nd Degree Black Belt before I go off to college. I know that is a lot of work, and with the support of my parents and my Senseis, I think this is something that I can accomplish. It will be a lot of hard work over the next 8 to 10 years, but this is a goal that I want to achieve. One thing I look forward to doing as a Junior Black Belt is to be able to help the Senseis in teaching the younger students at AmeriKick Langhorne. I have wanted to do this for a while, and once I have my Junior Black Belt, I think this is something that I would be able to do, to give back to AmeriKick. I also look forward to learning the advanced katas I see the other Black Belts learning. It means working harder and practicing more frequently and for longer to reach the levels of discipline Black Belts should demonstrate.

Do I deserve the honor of a Junior Black Belt?

I believe I have demonstrated the discipline and desire to attain this honor. I have been looking forward to this since I received my Red Belt last fall, and I have been working very hard with all the Senseis to understand and exhibit the skills necessary to be considered for receiving my Junior Black Belt. I can only hope I have impressed upon them my desire to attain this goal.

Thank Yous:

I would like to give my thanks to many of the Senseis that have been there for me on my journey and helped me along the way:
Sensei Justin Smith
Sensei Chris Goffman
Sensei Melody Waterhouse
Sensei Chris Millares
Sensei Andrew Bacchus
Grand Master Dennis Tosten
Sensei Mark Gallagher
Sensei Vince Little
Sensei Doug Shaffer Jr.
Sensei Alicia Gallagher
Sensei Mike Sautner
Sensei Emily Cid
Sensei Juliette Rihl
Sensei Tessa Lukacs
Sensei Amanda Laverde