Our Black belt of the month for April is Adelaide Lasater. We chose to highlight Adelaide this month because she is an amazing role model. She will be turning 12 on April 22nd. She is currently a 6th grader at Coppergate Elementary. She is currently enrolled at Florida Virtual School working more than a year ahead in language arts. She has had straight A’s throughout her entire academic career. She excels in math and reading earning many awards. She has been on the Math Team for over three years, on chorus and all county chorus for 3 years. She competed this year for the Coppergate track team. She has been a member of run walk for 5 years. She was awarded first place this year in both the Science and History fair. She competed at the county level in both. She also won first place at County for her History Report. This May Adelaide will be competing as a Clay County delegate in the state competition in Tallahassee. She was chosen to be on her school’s news team and by her teachers to be in the teacher training program. She received first place in her schools spelling bee and was able to compete at the County level. She is constantly the top reader at Cooperate elementary averaging over 8 million words a year.Adelaide started Martial Arts training when she was 7. We are very proud of her for earning her black belt this year. Even with all her other activities she still participates in our local, Regional, and World Tournaments placing in each. She is a member of CIT, Masters, and Leaders club. She does demos and helps with our booth. She was the first student at Middleburg Martial Arts to receive her certification in Verbal Judo. She has also won the trophy twice and a gold medal in our Star Program. Adelaide also loves to read, play mind craft, do origami, paint, and draw. She is a perfect role model in setting and achieving your goals. She has already decided she is going to Harvard and working in the science field. Keep up the awesome job AdelaideAdelaide wrote a great black belt essay. Below is a copy of it;What Black Belt Means to MeAdelaide LasaterBlack belt, something that you go to a store, pay five bucks for, and it keeps your pants up, right? Wrong. The black belt I am speaking of takes a lot more commitment than just buying a belt. Four years of training are packed into a five hour test for this one small belt. Over these four years, I have learned that the meaning of black belt for me is shown through its joys, challenges, and responsibilities. It’s hard to believe that so much is put into a small little belt.The joys of being a black belt In Tang Soo Do are immense, but the main one for me is being able to help people no matter what the situation. During a class, I often am being told to help someone understand a move. If I were a younger belt, I would not be able to help as much as I like to help today. Also, many of the black belts are like family to me because we have grown through the ranks together. I enjoy having a group that I can always depend upon. A final joy is the fact that I have been able to make it this far without quitting. There were many points in my training where I wanted to quit. One such time was at brown belt, because it became too difficult and I was bored with learning the old material. I then looked back and saw how much I’d gotten out of karate, which made me come to the point of black belt. Experiencing these joys has shown me that part of being a black belt means that eventually, you will know what to do so well, that helping people over and over becomes fun. That if you need help, there is always someone there for you, and that even though you want to quit, seeing how much you’ve gotten out of it and perseverance can lead you to black belt.There are many challenges of being a black belt. Did I know that I was going to be doing hundreds of pushups every week? No. How many Korean words did I know at first? None whatsoever. Now that I am so close to black belt, I look back and think how could I not know that? Several challenges have kept me back over the years. I have asthma and this makes it hard for me to do exercise. I am also not very good with upper body strength. I have experienced at least four tests where I could not break the boards during my speed breaks, even though I had practiced a lot. All of the challenges I have faced have taught me perseverance, which is never giving up even if something is hard. These challenges have also taught me that a black belt faces challenges head on, even if they are scared. There are many responsibilities that come with being a black belt. We are expected to be an example for all the other students, including away from our studio. Inside of our studio, we cannot slack off. The younger belts will follow our example, and if their techniques are incorrect, it is because they were following your lead. You are expected to go to all local, regional, and world events, including tournaments. You are also responsible for knowing all your techniques, and you cannot blame the instructors for you not practicing or passing your pretests. Outside of the studio, you are responsible for being the best person you can be, even if someone is making you angry. As martial artists and black belts, we have a duty to do the right thing and to protect others and ourselves. Being a black belt means that you are held accountable for your actions and involvement in the studio.Many of our tenets relate to what I think is a black belt. Integrity is used when practicing, for if you lie and aren’t practicing, you are only hurting yourself. Concentration is used when training so that you can remember your techniques for practice. Perseverance is used when you are confused or you want to quit. Respect and obedience are used when everywhere in life, such as when listening to grownups. Self-control is used when you are faced with the choice to be lazy and idle and you decide instead to overcome this behavior. Humility is used when if you win or do something right and you choose to be humble and not brag. Indomitable spirit is used when wanting to give in, and you draw from your force within. The seven tenets give a black belt what they need to move on.The five codes also relate to a black belts beginning. Your loyalty to country shows that you will use your karate to fight for and defend your country. Obedience to parents shows that you will listen and follow directions the first time. Your parents have been here longer, they know what they’re doing! Honor friendship shows that you will not make promises you can’t keep, and that you will not talk behind your friend’s backs. If you don’t honor your friendships, you won’t have any friends. No retreat in battle means that you don’t give up when fighting for something you want or need. In fighting choose with sense and honor means that when you are fighting for something, be smart and don’t cheat. By using all of these, you will become a successful person and a great black belt.For me, black belt means being responsible, having perseverance, being able to help others, and doing the right thing. Being a black belt has taught me many useful skills such as how to apply the knowledge I have gained from the tenets and codes. Not only has this journey taught me to use these skills not just in the studio, but outside the studio as well. Although it was four and a half years in the making, black belt is only the beginning.