Sunday, January 24, 2010

From White to Black

When I was in kindergarten through second grade there was an after school karate program that I participated in every Friday. I really liked it but once a week wasn't very much.

First Grade

Then in the third grade I went to Italy to live and I took shotokan which is a type of karate. Some of my instructors had been champions. It was strange to find them in the small village where I lived, Greve in Chianti. The head of the school was Michele Romano who was several times European and World Champion. I learned a lot from them.

A Competition at the Karate School in Greve

When I returned to San Diego from Italy we looked for a good karate school. We eventually found the one I am going to now and it happened to be the instructor who taught at my elementary school on Fridays. That was in September 2007.

Since I started at the Allied Gardens School of Martial Arts (AGSMA), I had a goal that I would become a black belt.

There are 6 levels before first degree black belt. The first test I took when I was a white belt, I didn't just pass, I double passed which meant that I got 20 or more points higher than I needed. From second section I tested for third section and passed; from there I tested for fourth section and passed and so until I went all the way to sixth section.

Finally the big day came, my instructor thought I was ready to take my black belt test. I took my test on January 9. It was really intense, but I got through it. I didn't know if I passed that day because I needed to write two 1000 word essays. One of them was on what it means to be a black belt and the other was on loyalty and benevolence which were the code of ethics that I chose to memorize for my test. Part of earning my black belt was that I had to perform community service or help teach 15 lessons to less advanced students. I did the 15 lessons which went by pretty quick. I liked doing it.

When I was done with my essays, I turned them in and waited for them to be graded by the Head Instructor. The Monday after I turned in my essays, I found out that I had passed my test and had earned my first degree black belt. There have been 10's of thousands of students at this school, but only 42 have reached black belt level and I'm one of them.

Now I begin my real training. My new goal is to get to first stripe by the end of this year.

See ya


Judith in Umbria said...

Casey, I am really pleased and impressed with this accomplishment! The foto is stupendous! It almost doesn't seem you.

nancyhol said...

Wow! I am so impressed, Casey!

You should really be proud of yourself - you had a goal and you stuck with it until you achieved it

Keep up the good karate work!

Anne said...

Congratulations, Casey! Very, very impressive to be one of only 42 to reach the black belt level. I love that your school takes a holistic approach, with the code of ethics and focus on community and helping others.

Great photo too! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow Casey, what a wonderful accomplishment!Your devotion and hardwork really paid off. Good luck with meeting your next goal!

KZ said...

Thanks Anne and Sheri for the congrats, and thank you for commenting. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...


Deb R said...

Congrats Casey, we are all very proud of your great accomplishment!

KZ in TOSCANA (or KC in So. Cal.)


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