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Black Belt Grading Essay - Pawan

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

My journey in Karate has been a long and fulfilling experience that has taught me many lessons. Since I was a kid, courtesy and respect (two of the Dojo’s main tenets) has been instilled into my psyche and in the manner I conduct myself outside of the Dojo. Karate has been a life skill and discipline that I am forever indebted to as it has made a significant impact on several different areas of my life. Beginning as a 5 year old white belt, I remember having fun with my brother and cousins learning basics and getting the chance to play dodgeball occasionally. Growing up with karate was a blessing, as I was able to see the rewards that hard work and diligence will net you from a young age. Being a big kid, it meant that as I got older, I would spar with more adults and as I entered the adult classes, it was a challenge I welcomed. The adult classes began to get much more challenging, but as an overweight teen, I remember viewing it as a fun challenge trying to keep up with kids my age who were more athletic.

I had last been assessed for a blue belt grading in 2015, the same summer my brother got his black belt. I remember working hard and diligently alongside him, but I still was not able to get into good enough shape to be able to go for the blue belt grading. It was truly heartbreaking, and I felt as if I had no control over what I could do as I was gaining weight quite rapidly at this point. Shortly after this period I had stopped going to karate consistently and had my last class around 2017, and had returned for a couple weeks in 2019. By the time I was 18, I had completely given up on Karate and was weighing around 270 lbs. I had accepted that my body was not going to change anytime soon no matter how hard I tried. I remained as active as I did previously, but my focus had shifted to university and doing well in my first year there. I was incredibly motivated as my first year was spent at SFU as I did not have a required class to start my degree at UBC and would have to transfer over. My studying was intentional and I worked diligently to make sure I was able to get into UBC for the remaining years of my undergrad. Although I was not training in the Dojo, I embodied the Dojo spirit with the way I studied and was able to get admitted into UBC with an incredibly impressive first year GPA.

Around February of 2020, I had begun getting extremely unsatisfied with the way I looked, and it began bothering me significantly. I would actively avoid looking at myself, and taking photos was a nightmare. This coupled with dissatisfaction about where I was going to school, forced me to put all of my focus into correcting this. The pandemic hit around this time, and everything was seemingly put on hold. I used this time to go outside and go for long walks and runs. Coupled with me learning to track calories, and understanding the mechanisms that induce weight loss, I had begun losing weight and finally felt good about my goals. Initially I had weighed 270 lbs, and wanted to lose around 20 lbs initially, and get to 200 lbs as my dream. I worked relentlessly, waking up every morning and going on a 12.5km walk followed by an afternoon workout, and evening walk/basketball game. During this time I was absolutely locked in, and nothing could distract me from my goals. I used the fuel of my own insecurity and things I heard growing up as motivation and it only made me work harder. Discipline and adherence became my entire existence, and these were principles I had learned in the Dojo. Pushing even when you don’t want to, working when others are not, and making no excuses. I started to lose

15 lbs every month for 6 months leaving my final weight in August of 2020 at 177 lbs.

For a while I had contemplated coming back to the dojo, but with social distancing protocols still intact, I figured it’d be smart to wait. In July of 2021, after running into Sensei, I finally came back to the Dojo as a white belt. I vividly remember a conversation about expectations, and how the lack of expectations would make it easy for me to integrate back into training. But from the moment I stepped into that dojo, I knew I was coming back to get my name on the wall and it is a goal I still intend on making happen. Despite the difficulties with working and university, I still managed to train and make use of the time that I am in the Dojo. Very quickly I had graded for my purple belt in August and I knew that I would have to train for the opportunity to grade for my blue. Since then, despite a grueling work and school schedule that requires a majority of my energy, I have remained active with my training both in and out of the dojo. Everyday, I make it my goal to have a weight room session and 10,000 steps bare minimum. However lately my workout regimen has been weights 7x days a week, Karate 2-3x a week, and typically some type of cardio session at night too all with 15000-17000 steps a day. I’ve easily achieved the best shape of my life currently, and continued my workout regimen in spite of a fractured hand. I look forward to Saturday, as I expect to not only do well but exceed all expectations .

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