When I was seven years old my mom decided that me and my brothers should be more involved with people our age, so she decided to sign us up for martial arts. We started taking classes up in Sherman every Thursday afternoon from five P. M to eight P. M. It consisted of working out, learning new defensive and offensive tactics, partnering up and kickboxing, playing games, etc.
In the beginning it was just something to do for fun and a way for us to learn how to protect ourselves, but it soon turned into a competition. I felt that I needed to prove to everyone that even though I was the youngest in the class that I could still do everything they were doing. It felt like a chore to me, but I had come so far and had gained so many important skills that I could use to protect myself and make myself better. I had to make a choice, do I decide to go on with my brothers to get my black belt or do I quit. I decided to continue for many reasons, but in doing so I gave up my summer and my free time to be all martial arts all the time. What was once one class every Thursday from five to eight became two a day classes, five A. M to nine A. M and then again from three P. M to six P. M. We worked our butts off, the black belt journey as they liked to call it was quite detailed. In order for us to begin the black belt journey we had to have many things.
For starters we were required to be in classes for three years; have a hand written essay of what martial arts means to us personally, a prior knowledge of all information from the Student Handbook (mostly the knowledge and terminology), some of the guidelines the academy had set, the procedures and rules, a basic understanding of the martial arts covered in class. Most importantly, to know and be prepared to demonstrate the nine of the twenty-six academy katas along with our own invented kata. We should have a prepared, typed form, of a brief scenario of how our kata will be can be used along with a listing of all strikes used, and lastly know all stances, blocks, and strikes. This was not only a test of the basics, but a further test of stamina and endurance.
Now came time for the workout we did for a month before our black belt test. The workout consisted of every morning we would run a mile; do about one hundred jumping jacks, one hundred sit ups or in most cases we did crunches, one hundred pushups for men and 75 pushups for women, and one hundred kicks with one leg on a target. The struggle was real but absolutely worth it. I was so proud that my family got to watch me and my brothers during the test and was able to see all the growth we had done from start to finish during the three years we took martial arts. It taught me so many valuable lessons and I had made so many great friends, not to mention that I got to go through all of these challenges with my two older brothers. Furthermore, a final plus I got it at a younger age than both of brothers. I have never been more glad that I did something in my life, I had earned it.
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