Brown Belt Grading Essay
Many join the martial arts out of necessity, others join to prepare for the worst. However, I enlisted for neither of these reasons. Being born into a fortunate family, with a fortunate upbringing, I never had to fear consequences that were outside of my own actions. Therefore, I joined to become the next Jackie Chan. But I continue because I want to discipline myself, not only in Karate but in school and other ventures I wish to pursue. As a martial artist, I have grasped things beyond punching and kicking; lessons that shaped my attitude, confidence, and disciplined me to succeed.
Throughout my six years of training with Sensei Intveld, I have met Senpais without the same affluent circumstances who fell into this discipline to learn to survive in their surroundings. But regardless of where we come from, our gender, age or anything of that matter, we all learn two imperative lessons. The first being, the strength to smile. The way our shoulders are rolled back, our chin up, and our eyes forward and focused, is the way we were taught to stand from the first day. We start the class with everyone’s feet uniformly standing on a line and our heads high. But as the class advances, our posture, our breathing, and our confidence lack. However, through the years, we have learned to maintain our composure, notably when it is hard. The contrary is fragility and the best way to get through it is with a smile. There are times, not only in Karate, but in life, when seconds feel like minutes, and minutes feel like hours, and the only thing we can do is smile. It is akin to a placebo, but one that works. A smile verifies to oneself and those around them that a person is capable and adept in their craft. I recall moments, especially when training with Senpai Linda, where we fatigue ourselves and all make the same face. Our eyes closed shut, and our jaws clenched, with “in pain” written all over our faces. Amidst this, we are asked to smile. And without an alternative, we toil our way into forming an awry but evident smile. Nevertheless, this crippled smile works every time, helping us endure for another ten “last sets”. This smile we were taught and the positive attitude that comes with it is the first step in moving onward with a goal.
The second lesson we were taught is to train with purpose. Last summer I had taken and completed an emergency medical responder course. Lacking insight on the course and its workload, I planked myself into a situation where I knew I would have to work hard. From the first day, I found myself overwhelmed with the dense information and concepts. Our first exam Edwin Stephen
Sensei Robbert Intveld, Academy of Martial Arts April 03, 2022 was a blur. Even after trying to smile in the hopes that an answer would occur, it didn’t. Although I passed, I was not prepared as I had only read the course contents for the sake of reading it. After this lapse I had learned from, I had a goal. I spent hours reading, taking notes, and practicing emergency procedures knowing that I had to pass. Rather than going through the motions, I had a purpose with plans to attain my objective. In the end, as the youngest in the class, I was one of five to pass both the written and practical exams and take home the license. Karate is no different. While I am still learning, I persist to find a purpose in each of my movements. Day by day I see improvements in my katas and other sequences. As a result, I have begun to find the will in myself to train rather than seek motivation from others. Training with a purpose helps me fixate on the missteps I make but also on the accomplishments and improvements made.
As Isaac Newton said, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. With every action I take with intent, I launch myself closer to achieving the objectives I place on myself. This brown belt grading is more than just a belt. It is a benchmark and an emblem of where I am physically and mentally. Although I don't know when, I am certain that I will receive my black belt in due time with due diligence also. Ultimately, doing something with a smile and a purpose doesn't just ensure a good effort, but success.