Hi Sensei, I hope you are well! I wanted to share with you Skyler’s college essay for his applications. I had no part in picking the topic or writing the essay. I only saw it last night for the first time. I thought you might enjoy reading about the profound impact you had on Skyler’s life. I’m sure you have heard this many many times before, but it never hurts to hear it again.
When I was younger, I had trouble committing myself to just one interest or activity. I lost interest quickly because of my ADHD. But in 2018, I decided to start karate. I had participated in Karate a few times when I was little, but returning to the sport ended up being one of the best decisions that I made. After only three years, I was awarded my black belt at age sixteen.
My first teacher was Sensei Ash, who I earned my first three belts with. In 2019, I moved to Team Karate Center with Sensei Fariborz. His method was different, and it completely changed my outlook on karate. He focused his teachings on helping students prove their abilities to themselves instead of proving themselves to others. He also helped me realize that karate is not just a fighting style, but a true skill. With Sensei Fariborz, I was quickly improving physically, as well as mentally.
Before I knew it, I was leading up to testing for my black belt, and I was delighted. Everything that I had learned for the last 3 years was going to be put up to the test. The people that were selected to be tested for their black belt were given tasks to complete. For one of my tasks, I had to hike at 5:30 am to a mountain flat top where we completed training exercises and prepared for the exam.
About a week before the exam, I started to experience a lot of self doubt. I was no longer sure that I was worth the title of a black belt. I was questioning if I was good enough to be a black belt and if I deserved this. I went to get help from my father. I told him that I wanted to quit. We went to my sensei for help and we sat down and talked about how I could get through it and be able to come out on top. People came over to my house to practice the things that I needed to work on. On the weekends I worked with one of my Sensei’s students. The night before I was stressed out about the exam and barely slept. The next day I woke up very early. My dad drove me to the studio. I was shaking the whole ride there; I looked like a ghost, super pale and low energy.
The final covered everything from the practice tests. At the end, the lights turned off, but a skylight in the ceiling illuminated the room. One at a time, people got up to have their favorite person put their belts on. When it was my turn, all of the mothers got up to support me because I had lost my mother at just seven years old. At that moment, I started to cry, which I do not do often. I came forward and was presented my black belt by Sensai Ash, my first teacher. I took it in my hands and snapped the paper bands. It was tied around my waist, and on that day I became a black belt!
If it were not for karate, I would not know just how much I can accomplish by committing myself and setting my mind to something. My experience showed me that if I live in the moment and worry less about the future and what I will be able to do, I am actually much more powerful. Karate also proved to me that I can work through my difficulties, which I know I will need to be able to do in college. I will have to manage my time, maintain a strong work ethic, and be focused on the end goals I want to achieve for myself. Because of my journey with karate, I know that if I do these things, it will all work out in the end.