October 27, 2018, was one of the best days that I’ve had in a long time. This was the date of my black belt test. The past two weeks preceding this day had a couple of bad days due to the extreme amount of stress that I am constantly put under. Everyone has bad days and everyone has good days, however, it seems that people normally share negative experiences. So, I decided to change it up a bit! I am going to share about the amazing day I had!
As I mentioned before, this day was my black belt test. I have been training for about five years now. The past three or so months before the test were filled with extra training, black belt preparatory classes on the weekends, and a weekend training retreat. This 3-4 hour test is meant to test every single part of you: physically, mentally, and emotionally. I feel like I performed well, and put everything I had out on the table. I’ve literally put in thousands of hours of hard work and I am so happy that I did so. Towards the end of the test, the group of candidates was being quizzed on Korean terminology, which was a struggle for many people (including me) in the past. After that portion, one of the master instructors asked all of the testing candidates to say what was the most valuable thing they had learned through the testing cycle. When it was my turn I said that “failure is not a sign of unsatisfactory performance; it’s a sign of a new opportunity to grow and persevere.” During this time, I looked up at the Kyo Sa Nim (certified instructor) candidate, whose face was glowing with pride. I then looked at all of my fellow candidates, who were all smiling. This was such a surreal moment for me as I could feel the sense of connection.
After the test, everyone went out for dinner. Then, a few of us went to frozen yogurt together and had great conversation. This type of bonding experience is one that I will never take for granted as it’s just so extremely special. To sum it up, this day was one for the books!
I wouldn’t have been able to have such a fabulous day without a few people. First of all, my master instructors, who always push me to my limits and then some. The faith, courage, and wisdom they instill in me is truly amazing. Secondly, the assistant instructors and fellow testing candidates who have been so amazing and motivational. Last (but certainly not least), the Kyo Sa Nim candidate. This person is someone who I have grown so close with, and I appreciate the friendship we share. This person has put in countless hours toward the success of myself and the other testing candidates, and through this, I have learned how inspirational this person is to me. The special friendship that we share is one that I feel so lucky to be a part of. I cannot thank everyone enough!
For the past five years, martial arts has been a constant theme in my life. Karate has honestly been such a gift as it has benefited me more than I can explain. Here are a few ways that karate has helped me:
I have been able to learn how to work as a team player, respond to criticism, and be more respectful to people. Additionally, I’ve been able to practice my social skills through activities such as partner drills, but even more importantly, I’ve made a couple of lifelong friends along the way. There’s no better feeling in the world than that!
I have improved my balance, gross motor skills, flexibility, and strength through all of the different techniques I’ve been taught. Furthermore, if I’m ever really angry, I know I can always punch the bags, getting my frustration out in socially appropriate ways.
Within the past few years, my respect and discipline has increased dramatically. Karate has been an avenue where my brother and I have been able to bond, bettering our relationship. I’ve learned to never give up when things get hard and to realize the importance of confidence and self-esteem. I have also learned a great coping method (which I use often) through karate!
This day was such a great one. Looking back, I realize why it was so great: not only because of the test, but because I got to spend my day with the most amazing group of people, doing something that I love and care about. Whenever I have a bad day in the future, I’ll be sure to remember this one instead. October 27, 2018, definitely one for the books! Check out the photo gallery below for some memories!