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Black Belt Grading Essay - John

I started my martial arts journey as an eighteen year old in England. I apparently got a late start as even this is older than most of the brown-belts I am grading with. I remember being in awe of my Sensei at the time. He had trained for years and was still only 35. I was only able to stay at that dojo for six months or so but I never stopped thinking about martial arts. I tried several other styles along the way, including Goju Karate, but I never had the stick-to-it attitude until I wanted to show my children the power and confidence gained by training. I started at the dojo almost ten years ago and, throughout it all, I have been pushed and encouraged to this point. It’s easy to find excuses when you’re older as so much of life can get in the way of what you really want. The dojo has a way of making you focus on the dojo alone. It was when I graded for my Blue Belt that I first really believed that I could achieve something incredible. It was the hardest 2 hours I had ever been through. It took me to a place I thought I would never be able to go. Since then, I have completed 2 hours several times and now it is time for 3 hours. I realise that it will be exponentially harder than my Blue Belt and my Brown Belt, but it will be the pinnacle of almost a decade of work. I have trained with some truly incredible martial artists in order to reach this point, and I refuse to fail. I have many role models to look to. Others like me who were older but didn’t let that deter them from attaining their Black Belts. I refuse to let down everyone who has supported me this far but more importantly, I refuse to let myself down. I know that it will be a battle, an exercise of will, and I will stumble, I will fall, I will be broken but I will pick myself up and keep fighting the fight. That is what I have learned at my dojo. I will endure. John

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