When you first started karate, what were your hopes of getting a Black Belt? What would it be like? How would that change your life?
When I first started karate, I wasn’t really sure about myself. In some ways, I didn’t know if I really wanted to do it, but I discovered something that gave me the confidence and strength to push me forward. I imagined it would be hard, but it was worth it, and it just pushed me more. As I went forward, I decided to become a junior instructor because I loved karate and could lead by example to help others.
What are the real challenges of getting a black belt and what have you learned from these challenges?
The biggest challenge is your own self and the fight with a voice in your head that says, “It’s too hard” and “You can’t do it.” I have learned that my body is able to do more than I think it can, and I am encouraged to assert myself, even if it is difficult.
How would you describe your approach to teaching and leading karate? What did you learn from your instructors?
When I go to the front of the class, my goal is for each student to be able to go home with something they have learned in the class. Even though I have to fix someone, I want them to feel good about their performance and not focus on the negative. Although I’m not the one teaching the class, I want to be able to show my best performance in front of students. This way I can push them to be the best.
I have learned that patience and understanding in helping students are essential to their success. Another thing I have learned is not to be controlled by my fears and to realize how strong I am when I teach / lead by example.
What would you say to the new White Belt student you want to see making a Black Belt?
Your journey can sometimes be difficult, but you have a whole family around you who help you and continue to push you to be the best. Always believe and you will go far.