When I was 7 years old my parents enrolled me in karate classes at Action Karate in Feasterville. From that time until now I’ve been involved in karate. When I started out I was a “white belt” and in three years was awarded a “junior black belt.” After that I continued my karate training and now, after earning 17 colored belts over almost five and a half years, I’ll be testing for first-degree “senior black belt.”
The biggest challenge in getting your black belt is with yourself. You need to commit yourself to going to classes every week and trying your best if you expect to earn your belts on time. Throughout my journey with Action Karate, I’ve learned many things. Respect, discipline and perseverance are all needed to prepare for a black belt. Sometimes it was hard getting to class because I didn’t feel like going, but I stuck it out and I’m glad that I did. And these qualities I learned will help me be successful throughout life, too.
Our instructors are always telling us to stay focused on our goals. I didn’t want to let my parents down or Master Brenner or my instructor, Mr. Rodriguez, either. But most of all, I didn’t want to let myself down, so I didn’t give up.
Karate is not about fighting. It’s about taking control of yourself, and learning to make the right choices. In every class we are taught that making the right choices is the best way to protect ourselves and if we do that we will not have to use our defense skills.
At Action Karate, Master Brenner teaches all his students that a black belt is not just something you wear, It’s an attitude. I’ve played baseball, football and flag football for school and for Somerton Youth Organization. I also attended Archbishop Ryan’s baseball camp. These are sports I enjoy with my friends. My karate training is a little different because it doesn’t have an off-season. That means if you expect to keep up with your training, you might need to miss out on other things that your friends are doing. It’s not easy, but somehow you learn to work everything out.
On June 1, all the black belt candidates will prove their skills in front of their family and friends at the Black Belt Challenge. At that time all of the hard work will pay off when we are awarded our belts. That isn’t the end, though. You can go on to as many black-belt degrees as you want. Karate can be a lifetime choice. Right now, I’m staying focused on June 1, 2013. ••
Editor’s note: Connor Fennell, 12, lives in Somerton and is a seventh grade student at St. Christopher’s School. He wrote and submitted this essay because one of his requirements to become a senior black belt is to let the community know more about karate.