What Karate has done for me – by Epifania Belo

Before I was in karate there was a time in my life when I was like most kids. I loved to play, goof off and do almost anything that I wanted to do. I did not show much responsibility-my own room I hardly ever cleaned up, it was always a mess. I relied on my family to help me fix just about all my problems. I would go to them for all the right answers. I did not have to think too much about anything since my parents knew how to keep me healthy and happy.

I started karate in the first grade through the after school program. I thought that this would be a good activity for me to do and it looked like a lot of fun. I also wanted to learn how to protect myself. Little did I know I would learn much more than how to fight and protect myself.

As I have progressed through my training I have learned a great deal of things. Being healthy both physically and mentally is the key to a healthy lifestyle. The proper diet that consist of fruits, vegetables, and proteins have helped to expand my endurance, strength and flexibility. Along with a good diet, is exercise is also important. By exercising regularly, I am able to keep up with what is required of me both on and off the mat.

My parents have always tried to teach me to be responsible, respectful, have integrity, and confidence. My instructors have also helped to instill these values within me. I have been able to put these to great use in all aspects of my life. At school I am a role model for those around me. At home I try to be the example that I would like my brother to grow up to be. And while being out and about with my friends I am always making sure that we are being respectful of everyone in the community.

I have also learned about the 3Ds, discipline, determination and dedication. Without the three of these, someone cannot succeed in any of their ventures. I never knew how much the 3Ds would have an impact on my life until now. I am able to set my mind to something that I want to accomplish and actually do so. Discipline keeps me focused on the task that I am working on. Determination keeps me wanting and willing to continue to finish that task. Dedication allows us to see the goal ahead (in my case-1st degree black belt) and strive to achieve that goal at all costs. Even if there are setbacks.

Karate has also built another family that I can rely on. This team of people know exactly what I am going through each and every time I step out on to the mat. Whether it is the excitement of a new challenge or the exhaustion of working hard. We have all grown through the ranks together. We have been able to create a bond that is worth holding on to and if continued it will last a lifetime.

I have also learned how to protect myself, and not just use karate right away. “Stop! Leave me alone!” is a phrase that I have learned to use when I feel as though I am in a bad position. This will also let others in the area know that I am in trouble and they could help me.

I know that if I had not gone to that first class of the after school program I would be a totally different person. I have grown so much since I started as well as learned a great deal of things. These lifelong ideals will stay with me through my life. I know that I will continue to improve upon myself each and every day because of everything that I have learned.