Black Belt Candidate Essays

Black Belt: What It Is and What It Takes by Andrew

Andrew is a provisional black belt candidate for 1st degree, but has also received his black belt in Arnis. Here is his essay on what it means to be a black belt!

Arnis black belt
Andrew with his brand new Arnis black belt!

“Black Belt: What It Is and What It Takes” by Andrew

I first went to Tae-Kwon-Do in September 2010. My parents took me there so I could get prepared for hockey. They wanted me to practice Tae-Kwon-Do so I could get prepared for hard hits and the roughness that hockey is known for. I did not know anything about Tae-Kwon-Do. The only martial arts, like Karate, I ever saw was from watching it on TV or at the movie. So when I started I loved the different forms and moves, and the fact I could protect myself. I also started to practice Arnis and loved the weapons forms, and stick manipulation. So I quit hockey and started practicing more Tae Kwon Do and Arnis.

A black belt to me is just not something that holds your pants up. It is a belt that shows you have respect, honor, courage, and integrity. All of these gave me strength to pursue and challenge my fears. Now I can face and conquer them.

I’m grateful for what I’ve learned. I thank all the people that have helped me get to where I am now.

Tae-Kwon-Do is now part of my life. It will always be in my heart. Tae-Kwon-Do has taught me to take on challenges like school work, chores my Mom and Dad give me, as well as everyday living and to face it head on and not fear it but accept it.

Being a black belt is hard, but it is great being one. It is great helping others. Other students give you respect for being a black belt. You also have to give them respect too. Always encourage others to keep going. Like I said being a black belt is hard, but it’s also great being one.

I have been in Tae-Kwon-Do for 2 to 3 years. There have been times I wanted to quit. It was so hard or because I hated it. The reason mostly was it was getting boring to me same exercises over and over, repetivness, not realizing I was honing my skills to become better, stronger and faster. Now that I have my provisional black belt, I just want to keep going.

What does it take to be a black belt? You need to have respect for others. You need to honor your family, friends, and others. But what does it really take? Never giving up, never quitting what you are doing. Most importantly all the other challenges life gives you.

I would like to thank Kio-Bi-Nim Chris Apprecio for teaching me what I need to do to be where I am now. I would like to thank my family and friends for encouraging me to keep going on. I would also like to thank other instructors passing what they have learned down to me, my instructors, and everyone else.

Benefits of Martial Arts Special Events

2013 “Karate Summer Camp” Open to the Public – August 12-16, 2013

We have exciting news for you! For the very first time, NW School of Martial Arts’ 2013 Karate Summer Camp is open to anyone ages 6-17!! That means you don’t have to be an NWSMA student to take part in the summer martial arts fun!!

NWSMA students, you know what that means? Bring a friend with you to camp!

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summer camp
A group of NW School of Martial Arts students think hard during a mental challenge.

Camp will take place over the course of 5 days, and each day has a theme. Focusing on one skill a day, such as kicking and grab releases, children will learn the basics of how to defend themselves. Benefits of summer camp include:

  • Gaining self-confidence;
  • Learning some basic self-defense skills;
  • Working with a small group to create a short skit about how to peacefully resolve a bullying situation;
  • Making new friends, learning to share & helping others;
  • Being active and exercising in a safe, friendly environment;
  • Getting creative with crafts and games!

Here’s the what/when/where:

  • Karate Summer Camp takes place August 12-16, 2013, Mon-Fri 10:30am-3:00 pm
  • The cost is $100/child/week OR $25/child/day
  • *Bring-your-own lunch except Friday* (We’ll serve pizza on Friday)
  • Located @ Stanwood Mason Hall in downtown Stanwood. We will donate a part of our proceeds to Bikes for Books.
  • Camp t-shirts with NWSMA logo will be available for an optional $20.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT ASAP! Contact us at, and we’ll email you the registration form and camp program.

Payment will be due in full, cash or check to NWSMA, on the 1st day of camp (August 12). Children will not be allowed to take part if their parent/guardian has not completed & returned the registration form with payment.

Grinning with their trophies after a tournament.
These two love summer camp (and winning trophies at tournaments!!)

NW School of Martial Arts, owned by Sensei Doris Eastbury, has been serving Stanwood since 1988 with martial arts & self-defense classes for all ages. Assisting her with camp are certified black belts who regularly instruct & help in our year-round programs.

Hope to see you at 2013 Summer Camp!

Black Belt Candidate Essays

Black Belt: What It Is and What It Takes by Miya

I’ve mentioned before that we have all candidates for 1st degree write an essay, sharing their thoughts on what black belt means to them. Here is karate black belt candidate Miya’s essay–she’ll be testing this week, so encourage her if you see her in class!

Miya at a tournament as a green belt.
Miya at a tournament as a green belt.

“Black Belt: What it Is and What it Takes” by Miya

When I first began training, I envisioned a black belt student as being some sort of super-human ninja with magical zen powers! I thought to myself, “There’s no way I could ever be that, it’s impossible.” However, as I trained and practice alongside these senior students, I began to see that you didn’t need to be a demigod to earn a black belt. I got to really know these students and discovered, they were just regular people. They had jobs and responsibilities outside the dojo, they got tired, and sad, and even mad from time to time. They also had regular problems that they had to deal with, just like you or me. They weren’t ninja master’s who spent every hour of everyday training in the mountains like I first thought they did. For the first time, a black belt actually seemed attainable.

Musings Scholarly Pursuits

Karate Bunkai: Seipai Applications

I just watched a *fabulous* karate bunkai video on Youtube, so I wanted to share it with NWSMA readers and students! Bunkai, are, of course, “applications” for forms. Studying karate bunkai means trying to interpret the form. The goal is to use the moves against an attacker.

The video shows karate bunkai for Seipai in action. Seipai is the form learned at advanced green belt in Seito Shito-ryu Karate (our system). The bunkai is for the Goju-ryu Karate version, one of the sources for Shito-ryu. The Goju version isn’t different enough to make it unusable for us, so here it is.

Pretty cool stuff, huh? Here’s a pic of our students doing Seipai:

karate bunkai
Karate black belts doing Seipai.

Water Breaks & Why We Need Them

Summer is almost here, and the weather in the Pac Northwest is awesome!

Now that we’re seeing so many sunny days, I think it’s a brilliant time to remind everyone of the importance of being hydrated. Pun intended.

Make sure you stay hydrated when the weather looks like this!

The human body is anywhere from 60-75% water, depending on your age.

If you’re thirsty, you’re already partially dehydrated. Dehydration slows us down, both physically and mentally, and drains us of energy.

So how much should you drink every day and when?


SBN/Sensei’s Spring Sale & Sensational SURVEY

Please excuse the excessive alliteration. 🙂 Here is the survey you’ve all been waiting for! Please give us your feedback regarding class times!

Click here to take survey

ALSO–SBN/Sensei Doris did a “Spring Cleaning” of her inventory, and the following items have been discounted and are for sale! First come, first served.


I Statements: Tips for Avoiding Conflict Escalation

“It takes two to tango.”

Sparring in class.
It takes two to tango. Can you spar yourself???

If there’s an argument or conflict, both people have a part in building it.

There are places and times when it is okay to allow an argument to happen or escalate. (Note that I say allow–you 100% have control of yourself and your responses).

There are also places and times when it is not appropriate to argue, and you must approach a potential conflict differently, in order to be respectful. Here are a few examples: