Black Belt Paper by Ela Karnesky

When I tell people that I do karate, a common response is “Oh I did karate when I was three,

then I quit.” I started karate when I was seven, and I didn’t quit. I trained every week and worked hard

to get to where I am now. Karate is not easy, if it was then everyone would do it. It takes a lot of hard

work and dedication. I’m happy that I put in that hard work and dedication because it led me to be the

person I am today. Karate has helped me become a better leader, learn how to defend my self, and gain

more confidence.

When I first started doing karate, I always admired and looked up to the leaders in the classes,

and as soon as I could, I became one. I love working with people to help them learn karate, especially

the little kids. Whenever I help pass down my karate knowledge, I feel useful and as if I’m making a

difference in the community. Teaching other people also tests my knowledge. If I don’t know the

technique that I’m teaching someone else, then they’ll do it wrong until told otherwise. That puts a bit

of pressure to make sure I know the material, but it’s a good pressure. It’s a nice challenge to have to

know the material well enough to be able to teach it to someone else and answer any questions they

have about it. Knowing how to protect myself is something I really value. Even if nobody ever attacks

me in my life, I like knowing that if someone did, I would be able to deal with it and keep myself. The

world isn’t full of good people, so you never know when you might need to defend yourself.

When I first started doing karate, going in front of a big group really scared me. Especially

when it came to promotionals when I had to perform in front of a large group of people that were all

looking at me. I was used to doing it for dance, but when you’re performing on a stage, the bright lights

make it hard to see the audience, so I was able to pretend that there was no one there watching me.

With karate promotionals, you can see the audience clearly and feel their eyes on you. During my first

promotionals, I locked my knees up super tight. After each promotional, my thighs would always be

super sore. After doing about 15 promotionals, my knees no longer lock up and I feel more confident

when I’m up demonstrating in front of the group. I can now handle katas by myself and random

curveballs Shihan throws at me, such as telling me to explaining what a junior black belt is only a

minute before I have to, with only slight internal panicking. This confidence has also helped me in

other aspects of life. During school, teachers often assign presentations where we have to talk in

front of the class for up to 20 minutes. Without karate, presenting in front of the class would stress

me out and make me nervous, now it doesn’t. Karate has helped me with my confidence in all aspects

of life, not just ones regarding karate itself.

Karate has changed my life. That I know for an absolute fact. I don’t know who I would be

without karate, but I definitely know that I am a better person from doing karate. I am excited to

receive my adult black belt and move into a new portion of my karate path. I don’t know where the

future is going to take me, but I know that I want to continue doing karate for as long as I can. When I

first started, I thought girls couldn’t do karate. Now I am very happy that I was wrong.


Written by Ela Karnesky