Black Belt Essay by Charles Holmes
Black Belt Essay by Charles Holmes
We are faced with many challenges throughout our lives. Some are easier than others, while some seem to be almost impossible. I started off in life with a disadvantage. I was born with the plasia gene, also known as the short gene. So, as my friends were growing, I was taking a little longer. I had to find ways to adapt and overcome everyday obstacles that were easier to most kids my age. My parents always have encouraged me to never give up and do what made me happy, so that’s what I’ve always done. I’ve always been strong willed and never let anything get in my way. I played basketball and ran hurdles in school. Not your typical short man sports. I performed in band, chorus, and show choir. I also was a dancer and competed in local and national competitions, winning several awards throughout my dancing career. I also competed in country western couple dancing as well. Currently I teach dance and am also an Early Learning Education Teacher. I enjoy working with children and helping them further educate their minds. God gives us all gifts and when you finally realize what that gift is, you put it to use. I am doing what I love and am most passionate about. Just remember, when you focus and put your mind to it, anything is possible.
I was first introduced to martial arts about sixteen years ago. I was living in Hanover, PA with a wife and baby boy, Mason. I wanted to do something that allowed me to be active, as well as learn how to protect my family. I started training at So’s Tae Kwon Do in Hanover, where I met a young Master Jay. I trained for a little over a year and was able to compete in a couple of tournaments. I enjoyed the training, tournaments, and the friendships that I was building. But unfortunately life wasn’t so friendly. Being a fairly new father and husband, times became financially difficult and I had to put my training on hold. By this point, I had only achieved yellow senior. This was far from my goal of becoming a black belt, but family responsibilities took precedence.
Time went on and many life changing events had occurred. I had another son, Gavin and a few years later I would be divorced. I moved back to Fairfield and continued living life and raising my boys. During this time, I developed some of life’s wonderful health challenges. I developed diabetes, high blood pressure, and Crohn’s. I was really struggling with getting control of my health. I needed a change and I needed it soon. One day I had noticed a martial arts studio was opening up right down the street. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to start back up with my training. And I felt it was an opportunity for something my boys and I could do together, as well as get myself on a healthier path. I went in to check it out and much to my surprise, I saw Master Jay. It was an enlightening reunion. I took from Master Jay’s grandfather, Grand Master So, and now I get to learn from him. I knew that my boys and I would be in great hands. So, I signed us up.
The boys and I started our journey together. I’ve always instilled into my boys, the same morals and ethics my parents taught me. Never give up and do what makes you happy. Time went on and we trained together, moving through the ranks and enjoying our time doing what we loved. Gavin came to me one day and said, “Dad, I’d like to live with mom.” In the back of my mind, I knew this day would come. We talked about it and I agreed to let him go. I had to let my baby boy spread his wings. This took an emotional toll on me, as well as affected my health. But being the strong willed person I am, I bounced back and kept moving forward. Mason and I kept training. He was a red belt and I was a red senior. He came to me and asked me if he could stop training. He had lost interest. It disappointed me a little bit, because I felt this was our thing to do together. I realized that he’s just a 16 year old boy, trying to find his place in life. But for me, I wanted my black belt. I kept on training and Master Jay came to me and asked me if I was ready to schedule my test. I was excited, nervous, and proud all at the same time. So, we scheduled part #1 back in October. I passed all the cardio tests but one, the dreadful mile. I tried probably about five or six times until I had a tap dancing injury. I rolled my ankle and it pushed me back with my testing and training. Once it healed, I continued to train and tried to meet my mile time. As the saying goes, “To fail is to succeed.” Another quote I’ve come to understand. I ran the mile multiple more times, not meeting my goal. In my head, all that mattered was to beat my last time, bettering myself that the time before. I finally achieved my mile time after several months of trying. I persevered and overcame!
Getting my black belt is more than just receiving a belt. To me, it symbolizes strength, hope, love, and honor. The training has given me strength to push through the tough times in my life. Mr. Jay, the staff, and my fellow classmates have given me hope through encouragement and have been inspirations to me throughout this journey. The love I have for my boys has given me the drive to keep fighting and never give up. I want to always be a positive role model to them both. And I couldn’t do this without the good Lord above. He gets all the honor and praise for seeing me through every day of my life.
Psalm 28: 7-8
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
8 The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.