Black Belt 1000 Word EssayWhen I first joined Middleburg Martial Arts, I was 7 years old. It was in April of 2011. My family and I came to one of the graduations; the black belts were doing a demonstration. After that, I was just mesmerized by their tremendous moves. Now of course I did not know what they were doing, all I cared about was how awesome the moves were. That night, there was a special. It was the 4 free weeks of karate with a uniform. I asked my dad if he could sign me up. He talked to my mom about it and they apparently agreed on it because my dad came back into the lobby and said to me “Is this really what you want to do?” With an eager yes, my mom and dad signed me up! My first day was on a Monday. I came dressed and ready to go. A lot of people asked me what my name was and what my favorite color was. When class finally started, one of the instructor’s helpers took me over to the other side of the curtains. He asked me what my name was and I asked him. His name was Anthony Clark. Anthony taught me many things such as punches, kicks, and grabs. He also taught me some Korean words such as ahp cha ki, yup cha ki and so on. The next day a different helper took me over to the side. Once again he asked me my name. His name was Logan Key. Logan taught me some more Korean and a form. Like any other white belt I was confused on my turns. I was also kind of getting frustrated because I didn’t know what I was doing. Time passed and it was time for the written and physical tests. Mrs. Stephanie introduced me to the “Gup Test” binder. All of the tests were in there. Also Mrs. Stephanie said that we had a website, and the gup tests were on there too. My mom printed the white belt test and I began studying. It was not long before the test came. I was a little nervous at first but I did it. I got my white and orange belt. When I was at that rank I got a better understanding of the 5 codes and 7 tenets. Those codes and tenets helped me throughout my journey and it actually got me to the point where I am right now. I entered my first open tournament when I was an orange belt with a white stripe. The only event that I competed in was open hand forms because I hadn’t learned how to spar or learned any weapon forms yet. I was a little nervous because I had never competed in a tournament and I was only 7 years old! There were 6 girls in my ring and for the open hand forms division I did Sae Kye Hyung Sam Bu. I won first place and received a gold medal from Master Lappin!!! I felt so proud of myself and my accomplishment. Throughout the ranks, I learned even more hands, kicks, and grab techniques. I did even more open tournaments but the regional tournament came. I was a red and blue belt at that time but half and half belts are not allowed so I had to wear my red belt with a white stripe. From previous open tournaments I was barely even nervous. Regional’s was amazing! I got to see Grandmaster Beaudoin in Apopka, FL. I got his autograph on my do bahk!!!!!!! I got to compete with one of my closest friends, Adelaide. When the medals were given out, I placed in two divisions. (I competed in all four) When I got to red and blue belt I struggled and became a little bit frustrated because I had to remember all of the forms, staff forms, and ALL of the hands, kicks, and grabs techniques. That is over 100 things to remember!!! I never gave up and it took me 4 or 5 tries to get my purple pretest stripe but, I did it!!! I was so incredibly proud of myself that I was going to be a Cho Dan Bo (blue belt). Tang Soo Do has taught me many things about being a better person and not giving up. I have set many goals for myself in Karate, in school, and also personal goals. Master Lappin has always been very supportive and helpful throughout my journey to black belt. She is a great instructor and an awesome leader. The seven tenets are extremely important to me. My two favorite tenets are Integrity and Perseverance. I feel that having integrity is important not only in Tang Soo Do but in life as well. To have integrity means that you are an honest and upstanding individual. To have perseverance means that you have a never give up kind of attitude. These tenets will help me continue to develop my character as I head into my teenage years and adulthood. The five codes are also very important to me in Tang Soo Do and in life in general. Two of my favorite codes are Loyalty to Country and Obedience to Parents. Loyalty to country is important to me because you should respect your country and the soldiers that fight for our freedom in the United States of America. Obedience to parents is important to me because your parents are a huge part of your life. They are always supportive, helpful, and caring. My parents have been by my side in my journey to black belt from the very beginning. In 2014, I had an absolutely amazing year! In April, I did my first regional tournament/championship in Apopka, FL where I had the honor of meeting Grandmaster Beaudoin. In June, I went to the Region 21 Black Belt Camp in Fort Valley, GA and I had a fantastic weekend. I learned a lot of new things and I also got to meet Tang Soo Do students from other studios. On July 18th we traveled to Greensboro, NC for the World Championship tournament. I was so tremendously excited to be a part of something like that. I was a 10 year old blue belt at the time and I was placed in a ring with 6 other girls. I was very excited and a little bit nervous to compete in such a large arena. The tournament began and it was awesome. I placed first in sparring, second in weapons form, and third in open hand form!!! I was so proud of myself and I knew at that point that I would definitely become a black belt!!! In conclusion, even though I am only 11 years old I can see how much Tang Soo Do has helped me in becoming a better person, both physically and mentally. I have been on my journey to Black Belt for 4 years and I am looking forward to testing for Cho Dan. I will continue to train and persevere and become the absolute best Martial Artist and the best person that I can be!