Black Belt
Megan, Age 13, Jamison, PA

It was a warm spring day in April. The bees were buzzing, the birds were chirping and the karate kids were kiang. This was day one, day one of the challenge to revive the respect I deserve for becoming a black belt. It was my first chance to prove I am ready for my respect. One of the main reasons for karate is respect: respect for yourself and the people around you. You donít become a black belt in one day; it takes time and dedication but most importantly hard, persistent work.

When I got to the Dojo, I realized that I was the youngest. This meant I would have to compete against experienced adults who knew what they are doing and who have memorized the dojo inside out. On the other hand, I didnít even know where the bathroom was.

I was terribly nervous, but there was still a sliver hope in me. I thought to myself, Iím going to die today; it is my death, a little thirteen year old girl battling a gigantic twenty- seven year old. Iím going to die, tell my mother not to give my sisters anything in my room. Even if Iím dead, my property is mine.

I got onto the floor, bowed, shook hands with my opponent, we said our theme Dojokoon: ďWe seek perfection of character, to be faithful, to respect others and to refrain from violent behavior, Sensei nee ray. Shomani ray, Aragono Sensei.Ē We got into our positions and did nothing but stare. I could feel his eyes burning into my soul, like an egg hitting the bottom of a skillet. But I couldnít let him feel power. I glanced back at him with an icy stare. I threw the first kick, but he blocked stealthily. I knew this would be a hard match.

***

A myriad of punches and kicks were being lunged at each other but somehow we were always one step ahead of each other. I knew I had to impress the judges without getting disqualified. If I got disqualified, I would never earn their respect; I would just look like a fool. I punched but he blocked right away, he kicked but I swiftly stepped away. I thought that this match would never end because we werenít getting anywhere. We didnít have any points, and everything they called was a tie. Then the perfect chance came along: He wasnít looking, and his hands were down. If I kicked him now, I would win. So I stopped thinking and started doing. I kicked him in the solar plexus; he fell.

***

Everything went quiet. I could almost hear the crickets chirping, and then my Sensei screamed out, which meant I had won, the first child to win, white is victorious! I was not only proud because I won, I was proud that I had come this far. Only one percent of all people who train with karate actually receive a black belt.

I was first, first in sparing and the first thirteen year old to be a black belt, and I had completed my first goal to become an official black belt. I expected to leave with a medal and if I was lucky a trophy. Sadly, I only left with one 1st place sparing medal, but I also left with something much greater: my respect.   

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