After five years of classes and training, I had an ultimate test to show my karate knowledge, technique and strength. I was testing for a black belt in karate.
For months, I had trained like never before in my life. I will always remember what it was like to test for my black belt.
I woke up at 5 a.m., because the test started at 7. I had an English muffin with fruit for breakfast. I was dressed in my white gi with my brown belt and was ready by 6. I got to the dojo by 6:15 and started stretching with my fellow black belt contenders. Shihan, the head instructor at my dojo, had highly recommended stretching on your own before the testing began.
It was a stormy day. The wind was blustery, and the clouds were ominous. Then the rain came down, like it knew what I had ahead of me. The test took five hours, and they were the most intense hours of my life.
First, we had to discuss the papers we submitted, which explained our experiences with karate and its impact on other parts of our lives. Then we had to do push-ups and sit-ups; I had been practicing all summer and winter, so I was ready. After that, we spent hours testing in the rain in the parking lot. For all black belt tests at the dojo I attended, portions of them took place outside, but our conditions just happened to be super bad.
Outside, we were tested on our self-defense. When we got swept to the ground, we hit the hard cement and had to get right back up. After a few hours of testing, we continued inside the dojo with 11 two-minute rounds of full contact sparing. By that time, the rain had stopped. Lastly, we did push-ups and sit-ups in the puddles in the parking lot. After that, I received my black belt! The most difficult part of the test was the sparing.
This was the biggest accomplishment of my life. I did so many push-ups in training, I was positive my arms would fall off. I did so many sit-ups in training, I thought my stomach would explode. No matter how hard I trained, I just kept on pushing myself to train more. That is how you get to succeed in many things, including a black belt.
Since I got my black belt, my whole life has changed. I am more independent and daring. I have accomplished great things knowing I am a black belt, such as summiting Mount Marcy, the tallest mountain in New York (5,344 feet.)
My biggest tip for earning a black belt is "Don't ever quit or doubt yourself."