A long time ago, before I ever started my journey in karate, I used to watch a certain dojo, filled with numerous kids and adults, kicking, punching, and practicing. In this karate dojo, was where my older brother, who had, at that time, just started karate. I loved to watch all the different and unique techniques, weapons, and exercises the students in there practiced. It captivated me on how the students there could expertly wield sais and katanas and how they could do amazing techniques that required much practice, such as the jumping back kick. The fact that my older sibling had to stretch and spar against other kids at the dojo was very interesting to me at the time. Shortly after my brother joined, I also started karate.
At the age of five, I started my journey in karate with Sensei Nishimura, a marvelous teacher who helped me overcome many obstacles. In the beginning, I was uncoordinated and feeble, always not knowing what to do and what was right or wrong. Sensei Nishimura, at that time, always punished me for my wrongdoing, often pushing me above my own physical strength. During that period, I thought that this was unfair and beyond my own limit. As I aged, I soon realized that what Sensei had done to me was meant to make me stronger, both mentally and physically, and also to give me manners and respect for other adults or students. After realizing this important part of karate, I started to strive more eagerly for what everyone in the dojo wants – the black belt.
The black belt is not something you could just easily get from few years training. It is something you achieve, something formed from all the sweat and blood you had during your journey to that certain destination. In order to accomplish this goal to get the black belt, you need, most importantly, effort and diligence. Without this key factor, a student would have fallen behind and never have achieved the black belt. You have to put in all your strength and commitment into karate to accomplish this goal. Another aspect needed in order to attain this goal is respect and mental strength. Your mental strength is in a way the same as diligence. Your mentality has to be strong enough that you won’t quit karate early and not achieve your goals. Respect also plays a big role in your journey to the black belt. This helps your peers and students trust and respect your actions in the dojo, and also form the basis of manners.