There are many fundamentals a student of karate must master to be rewarded with the Black Belt. Some of these are stance, proper etiquette, and focus. Just two years ago, I was able to achieve this rank of Shodan, or first degree black belt. The “Sho” in Shodan translates to “The Beginning”. In other words, from the moment one receives their Black Belt, they have mastered these basic fundamentals and now truly start their journey in karate training. This plus more is required to reach the level of Nidan.
In the year 2004, I started my training with Sensei Nishimura. Originally, my twin brother and I started because our older brother had also been attending classes and we thought it would be fun. However, we soon came to find out that it was not only “fun”, but that it also shaped the people that we became. Sensei Nishimura, while teaching proper technique, also taught us proper etiquette and how to persevere through pain and hard work. As an athlete and as a person, I don’t know where I would be without his teaching and the great example he sets for his students.
Constant repetition of punches and kicks isn’t the only thing required to be a successful martial artist. First, one must master their mind over their body. Also, as Senpai Ron always says, everyone must practice quality over quantity. No matter the amount of kicks and punches, if they are practiced with poor technique, this is all that will appear when it is most needed. Also, the student must be passionate and determined to improve to even consider wanting to be known as a Black Belt. After achieving this rank, this drive is clear and will allow them to not only climb higher in the ranks of karate, but also in anything they decide to commit to.
Martial Arts should be not thought of as self-defense and combat alone, but it is also the way to study peace and seek harmony. Most of my life, I have been learning to incorporate this philosophy of martial arts to more than just karate training, but also to my daily activities. With long hours of hard work and determination, I finally have reached the level of Nidan in the year 2016. I am glad that I started this journey, and I am excited to find where I will be with my experience of practicing this way of life and how it has shaped my mind and will mold my future.