Black Belt Essay

A Black Belt Essay

What I have learned since receiving my Amerikick Black Belt

By Billy Preston 

Ever since I got my black belt, I have learned a ton of new and fun things! When I went to my first Black Belt class, I learned my previous training was to prepare me to start to really learn Karate. I also learned that it was going to be up to me to put more work in to learn the new techniques and prepare for my Senior Black Belt. 

If I had to choose one of the new techniques I learned as my favorite I would choose Twisting Dragon, because I think it is unique that the good guy is the one attacking the bad guy and because I like to do tricks and it feels like a funky cartwheel while doing it. For me, the hardest technique I have learned is Tiger Stretch because it was hard to remember what moves come next in each part. The easiest technique for me to learn was Reverse Hammer Lock because I think it has the least number of moves and the moves are basic. I think the hardest skill I have learned in my whole Karate career is a Falcon Kick from my last test. I think my favorite black belt kata is Short 2 because all the steps and moves are easy but not too easy like short 1 and long 1. 

After I got my Junior Black Belt, I started to help out with the younger kids in class.  I think my favorite part of being a Black Belt is helping out because not only do you get to learn people’s names and make friends, but I also get to help the younger kids get to where I am today! 

We had to rebuild our Black Belt Demo Team after senior members became too old to be on the team. I am now one of five remaining members from our old team and am considered one of the leaders on the new team.  This is both exciting and a bit scary because the new kids on the team look up to us now as leaders. I have made a lot of new friends on the team though. I love to come every week to learn new amazing things on the demo team and in class! Sensei Jamel’s Tricks class is probably my favorite because I am good at doing tricks and I am starting to be able to perform more advanced tricks in my creative katas.  On some nights I would be the only one to show up for class.  Those nights were fun because Sensei Nick would help me with my Back Tucks! I also have fun learning Arnis Sticks with Sensei Pete and going to special Arnis classes with Grandmaster Dennis Tosten. I’ve just started learning Jiu Jitsu with Sensei Tyler too.

I had an amazing tournament season as a Black Belt last year.  I could not believe that I finished as the top overall Black Belt in the Amerikick Karate League. I got to meet Mason StowelI at the Amerikick Internationals. My least favorite part of the season were the virtual tournaments because I had to perform each of my katas 3 or 4 times for the camera to get them perfect instead of doing them once at the in-person tournaments.  Boy was I glad when we finally went back to the in-person tournaments! 

I think being Black Belt is my favorite belt so far because I get to be the leader for more things now. In class I have had a ton of fun challenges that I had to accomplish. All my Senseis have made sure I have had fun learning my senior belt techniques and Katas and have helped me so much along the way.  I also have to thank my Mom and Dad and my brother, Sensei Bobby, for helping me get to where I am now. So far, my journey in Karate has been extremely fun and extraordinary and I can’t wait for more!

Sensei Billy’s Black Belt poster

May 2022 Newsletter

  1. May 2nd Summer Uniforms can be worn in classes! Must be Amerikick T-Shirt & Amerikick Shorts.
  2. 10th – Bring A Buddy AKX Fitness Kickboxing Class @ 7:15pm
  3. 14th- Belt Graduation at 12:00pm! 
  4. 20th – Star Wars, Dodgeball, Ninja Warrior, Nerf Wars, Pizza Night! 6:30pm – 9:00pm $30 per person $25 BBC & MC Members!
  5. Closed Sat-Mon for Memorial Weekend
Martial Arts

Meet Sensei Pete

Hi everyone, my name is Pete or Sensei Pete.  Just want to let you know how I started at the Amerikick Delran Team.  I am a father of two: I have a daughter Arianna (21yrs) and a son Anthony (18yrs), you may have seen him around.  Anthony had already been attending Amerikick karate, at the age of 5, and there was a special father’s day membership promotion, so I decided to attend a karate class.  My level of activity had declined and I wanted to get back into some kind of physical training.  It beat sitting on the couch eating snacks and waiting for bedtime by 100 miles, God bless my wife, Diane. 

During my time with the Amerikick Delran family, I was an active member of the community at the time.  Coaching or helping coach in the Delran athletic association and being the Den leader/Cubmaster for cub scout Pack 25.  

I had earned my karate first and second degree black belt under Sensei Nick, which opened the door to many other martial arts learning opportunities.  Arnis and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) have also become training passions, both available within Amerikick.  

Arnis, also called Eskrima, Kali, Garrote, or fighting sticks, has been very enjoyable to learn and teach.  Amerikick introduces the art during the first degree black belt journey, but that was not enough for me.  So, I continued my training with none other than Grandmaster Dennis Tosten, founder of Amerikick, and earned my Lakan (equivalent to a Black Belt).

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ has been another branch in the martial arts tree.  I have the opportunity to learn and train with some excellent martial artists within the Amerikick Delran team: Sensei Tyler and Sensei Jamel.  My BJJ journey currently has me at a purple belt level under Sensei Nick and Coach Rick Migliarese.  Every single member within the BJJ program keeps me on my toes and makes me earn the purple belt every training session.

So, in addition to my martial arts passion, I have a bachelors in Mechanical engineering from NJIT and work full time at a company close by that designs and builds automated laboratory robotics equipment for the pharmaceutical industry.  

I would also like to mention that every experience I have had at AmeriKick has resulted in a camaraderie. 

Martial Arts

The Benefits of Martial Arts on Mental Health

Most people know the physical benefits of training in Martial Arts but do you know all of the mental benefits?  According to  A review of the effects of martial arts practice on health, “Benefits from this practice include better overall health and balance, as well as an improved sense of psychological well being.” Today we want to take a deep dive into all the ways Martial Arts benefits mental health.

Physical Exercise

I know, we said mental health, not physical health, but hear us out.  Did you know that physical exercise has an impact on mental health?  According to A Meta – analysis of the Relationship Between Children’s Activity and Mental Health, “Clinicians, school-based professionals, and parents should encourage physical activity in children, not only for the physical health benefits, but for the positive mental health outcomes as well.”  Exercise produces endorphins which are known to boost your mood and make you happier.  I don’t know about you but a workout always helps to clear our minds and put us in a better mood.  Physical strength and endurance are both key components of Martial Arts.

Stress Relief

Have you ever kicked or punched a heavy bag as hard as you can?  We strongly suggest it!  Take whatever is on your mind and turn that negative energy into power. Classes and learning new techniques also help to occupy your mind with something new and positive.  Sometimes you just need to shift your focus.  Speaking of…


Sometimes we just have too many tabs open in the browser, if you know what we mean.  It can be hard to complete tasks and even stressful when your mind is racing.  Martial Arts instructors help their students to focus in order to learn techniques and properly perform those techniques.


This is something that many of us struggle with.  We are not talking about seeing a cookie and not eating it.  We mean understanding a feeling and taking a minute to decide how to react.  We practice this all the time in Martial Arts.  The reason we are able to train in sparring and weapons safely is because we teach students the importance of self-control.


Students are expected to treat people respectfully in and out of the karate school.  We are courteous to each other but we expect that to extend far beyond the school.  Even though karate is an individual sport, we as a school are a team.  We encourage each other and mentor each other. 


Feelings of loneliness or isolation can have serious effects on one’s mental health.  Martial Arts offers a community of people who share a common interest and who work together to support each other.  Students are all working towards the common goal of Black Belt Excellence. You feel a special bond when you are working hard together towards a goal.  In addition to that, many friendships are made at a karate school.


“The more you practice, the better you get”, is a phrase heard often at our karate school.  No one decides to be a Black Belt one day and becomes one on the same day.  As much as getting a Black Belt may be the goal, all the growing and learning takes place during the journey to get there.  When you reach the goal, it’s that much sweeter because you know you never gave up.


Every new technique learned, every new belt, every Martial Arts tournament competed in, raises your confidence a little more.  That same confidence will stay with you through all of life’s challenges. If you have a big tournament coming up, you practice because you know you will feel more confident when you compete.  That next week when you hear about your big math test, you will know you will practice for that same feeling.  Proper planning prevents poor performance.  Also, it lessens nerves.

Work Ethic

According to the article, Positive Psychology in Martial Arts, “Martial arts training forms the foundational base for establishing a healthy work ethic.” Feeling like situations in your life are out of your control can be a cause of anxiety for many. Understanding that you control the actions you take and the work you put into a task, can help to alleviate some of that anxiety.


You are probably wondering what could be creative about Martial Arts. Sure, we teach techniques and katas that are memorized but that is just the foundation. Once you understand the movements and their purpose you can build from there. If you have ever sparred you know that you have to think quickly and be creative with the moves you choose to use. Many students love to compete in the Creative Forms division at tournaments. They are able to take the moves they have learned and use them to create their own kata. Just like in real life, you learn your basic principles or virtues at home. You determine how to use them through life. You might be faced with challenges or difficult decisions but your virtues help guide you down the best path for you.

We could go on forever on all the ways that Martial Arts can benefit you, body and mind, but we will stop there so you have time to get some training in. If you are ready to begin your Martial Arts journey but you are not sure how to start, check us out at Amerikick Delran!

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, you can find resources at the National Institue of Mental Health (NIMH).


April 2022 Newsletter

  1. Saturday 4/2 @ 12:00pm Belt Graduation
  2. Weapons Week will be Chucks this month.
  3. Monday 11th @ 8:00pm FREE Adult Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Class
  4. Friday 15th All Classes Bring A Buddy Night! 
  5. Tuesday 19th FREE Fitness Kickboxing Class! 
  6. Saturday 23rd Parent Participation All Classes! Part II 
Martial Arts

Meet Sensei Tyler

Hey guys! My name is Tyler, or Sensei Tyler as some of you may know. I started learning karate at Amerikick Delran when I was just 7 years old. My interest in karate stemmed from the years I dealt with managing my anger. Despite going to therapy, I needed another way to release stress and that is when karate become a huge part of my life. With the guidance and knowledge of Sensei Nick, I grew to become a talented student and competed well in many competitions. After 5 years of hard work, I earned my Black Belt and continued to learn new skills for 2 more years.

Sensei Tyler resting after some hard work at Black Belt testing.
Sensei Tyler getting his Black Belt from Grandmaster Tosten at the Black Belt Extravaganza.

While karate is something I am very passionate about, another form of martial arts has become an important part of my life. As I get older, I strive to keep learning and expanding my knowledge of self-defense. I was introduced to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program at Amerikick over 5 years ago, and since then I have grown to appreciate martial arts even more. I am now a Purple Belt and have many competition wins, some being professional, to add to my list of accomplishments. Even more importantly, I have created life-long friendships with my co-workers and training partners.

Sensei Tyler and some of the AK BJJ crew.
Sensei Tyler with his Dad and brother/training partner Andrew.
Sensei Tyler celebrating a victory with his brother and sister.
Sensei Tyler and Sensei Nick at the Tap Out Cancer Submission Showcase. Tyler took the win and raised money for cancer research.

I aspire to one day open my own martial arts school. I love watching students grow into confident individuals and seeing them reach their goals makes me want to work even harder towards mine. Sensei Nick has been my biggest inspiration and has shown me that my goals are achievable no matter how difficult they seem. I am extremely grateful for my Amerikick Delran family, and I couldn’t imagine my life without martial arts in it! A quote I live by every day is by Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, and it states, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

Sensei Tyler is always either in a Jiu Jitsu gi or a karate gi. He is always training!
Martial Arts

Top Martial Arts Movies

The list of Top Martial Arts Movies is no easy list to come by.  Asking Sensei Nick to choose his favorite martial arts movie is like asking him to pick a favorite child, he can’t do it.  He loves them all.  But we asked him to anyway and here are his picks.  Make sure you read all the way through for a special rare movie pick!

Top 5 Martial Arts Movies for Kids (in no order)

  • Kung Fu Panda: Watch Po uncover his destiny with his pals, The Furious Five.  This movie keeps the kids entertained and the parents.  This movie is also a perfect example of one of our favorite sayings “The more you practice, the better you get.”  Heroes aren’t made overnight, and neither are Black Belts!
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: One of Sensei Nick’s favorite shows growing up was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so it was no surprise when he picked this one.  He is a fan of all of the TMNT movies but the original will always hold a special place in his heart.  You can’t go wrong with Turtle Power!
  • Mulan: The Disney animated version is good but the Disney live-action version takes the Martial Arts action to the next level!  Sensei Nick lives in a house full of strong females so it only makes sense that Mulan would be a household favorite!
  • 3 Ninjas: Rocky, Colt, and Tum-Tum are three brothers who learn Martial Arts from their grandfather which comes in handy when they are faced with defending themselves against a bunch of bad guys.  The family that kicks together, sticks together!

Top 5 Martial Arts Movies for Grown Ups (in no order)

  • The Karate Kid: All of the Karate Kid movies are great but nothing beats the first.  Watch them all then follow up with the Cobra Kai series when you are done.  You won’t be disappointed.
  • Best of the Best: Great fighters from all over the country come together to compete against Korea at a Tae Kwon Do tournament.  Watch to see if teamwork really does make the dream work!
  • Bloodsport: We practice peace and friendship so thankfully there will be no Kumite training in our school.  That doesn’t stop us from cheering on Frank Dux though!
  • Kickboxer: This is definitely not the same as the Fitness Kickboxing we offer with the AKX program!  So while our training won’t have us avenging any family members, we can certainly appreciate Kurt’s journey to avenge his brother.

Special Feature

As promised, one of our top picks that Sensei Nick may be too modest to mention…

  • Kick: a film about three competitors and their lives on and off the competition stage.  See anyone familiar???  We are still trying to get our hands on a copy of this classic but when we do, you all will be first to know!

Grab a bucket of popcorn and one of these movies for some Martial Arts entertainment.  When you are ready to start your Martial Arts training, give us a call at Amerikick Delran!


March 2022 Newsletter

  • March Madness Sales all month.  Discounts on selected proshop equipment, uniforms, weapons, apparel, and memberships.  
  • Thursday, March 10th @ 6:30 pm – Special Guest Instructor Grand Master Dennis Tosten for all Adults/Black Belts. “Arnis Stick Training” 
  • Monday, March 14th @ 8:00pm-FREE Jiu Jitsu Class for Adults
  • March 19th Parent Participation Day for all classes!    
  • The 2nd AKL Tournament will be at Amerikick Marlton on Sunday, March 27th.  Plan on a fun day of competing! 
  • Stripe Week will be March 28th – April 2nd! Belt Graduation is 4/2 @ 12:00

Tips on Where to Hold Your Child’s Birthday Party!

You are planning your child’s birthday party.  They want an amazing birthday party, crazy fun activities, the whole neighborhood invited…basically an epic celebration that will go down in history as the best birthday party EVER!!  You were probably thinking more like…a fun party with some friends, in a clean safe space, for a reasonable price.  We understand the struggle is real! Now where to find a space for this epic celebration also known as your child’s birthday party…

Factors to Consider When Choosing Kids Birthday Party Venue

  • Physical Location – How far do you want to travel for your child’s birthday party? How far do you want your guests to have to travel?
  • Number of Guests – How many people are you inviting and will the space accommodate that number?  Also, will there be an extra charge for more people?
  • Activities – What will the guests do at the birthday party?
  • Cleanliness – Is the space clean and well maintained?
  • Safety – Are the activities age-appropriate and safe for the guests?
  • Special Features – What’s included in the birthday party package?
  • Price – Is this priced within your budget?
  • Food – Is food provided or can you bring your own?
Locations for kids birthday parties.



Some of the positives about having your child’s birthday party at the park are lots of space and inexpensive.  Also, if there is playground equipment you have entertainment.  If there is no playground equipment, you may have to come up with some activities.  The major negative about a park birthday party is that it is dependent upon the weather.  You will want to have a backup plan if there is inclement weather. 

Kids Fun Zone

Places like this are great for keeping kids entertained.  However, the kids normally scatter and don’t stay with the other birthday party guests.  There may also be lines and wait times for activities if it is a busy time at that particular location.  Also, they can be higher priced.

Bounce Houses

Kids love to bounce for hours.  They are normally in a private area with your own birthday party group.  However, they can be a bit more expensive and will charge for any extra guests over the allotted amount.  Also, depending on the age of the children attending they may not be able to partake in all of the activities.


A home is usually the least expensive option.  Depending upon the size of your home, you can invite as many guests as you’d like.  Also, you can decorate however you’d like.  The major downside of hosting your child’s birthday party in your home is that you are responsible for everything, all cleanup, and setup.  A child’s birthday party is guaranteed to leave a pretty substantial mess.

Trampoline Park

A trampoline park will keep your child and their friends busy with endless jumping and activities.  There is normally time allotted for jumping and for eating.  Typically the dining area is private for the birthday party but the jumping area is open to party-goers and the other patrons of the trampoline park.  One of the downsides is that your guests will be scattered with the other patrons.  Also, make sure this is an age-appropriate activity for all of your guests.  Pricing for these parties can be higher depending upon how many guests are invited.  

Martial Arts School

Holding your child’s birthday party at a martial arts school can have many benefits.  Instructors to keep the kids entertained and organized, a large kid-friendly space, a safe and clean environment rain or shine, kid-friendly equipment, reasonably priced, and the best part…clean up and setup included so you can just sit back and watch your child have fun or mingle with other parents.  Also, not only will the kids have fun playing they will be getting the benefits of a Martial Arts workout.  The one downside is your guests may not want to leave but the instructors can help with a graceful exit.  At least these are some of the positives of birthday parties at Amerikick Delran Karate School.

Happy Birthday from Amerikick Delran

Whatever place you choose for your child’s birthday party is sure to be a great time for your child and your guests.  But if you are ready to hold your child’s birthday party at a place that will really KICK it up to the next level of fun, contact us as Amerikick Delran Martial Arts to book your child’s birthday party today!

Martial Arts

#1 Question to Ask When Choosing a Karate School

My family and I at our karate school, Amerikick Delran.

Location, price, reviews, are all important but what happens when they seem pretty equal?  The #1 question you should ask your potential karate school is “Why?”.  Why do you teach karate?  What does it mean to you? 

Confidence, self-defense, physical and mental wellness.  I could go on and on. But instead of telling you all the reasons why you and your family should practice Martial Arts at Amerikick Delran, I want to tell you why I practice Martial Arts. 

Let Me Introduce Myself…

For those who don’t know me, I am Nick or Sensei Nick to my students.  I am the Owner and Operator of Amerikick Karate School in Delran, NJ.  My Martial Arts school teaches Kids Karate, Adult Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Fitness Kickboxing.

I started karate when I was 8 years old.  My father had his own heating and air business and would let me come on jobs with him.  When I helped out, I got to pick my payment.  After helping on one job 30 years ago, I asked if I could sign up for karate classes as my payment.  So my parents signed me up at Amerikick Karate in Philadelphia where we lived.  I immediately fell in love with Martial Arts.  I wanted to learn as much as I could and I wanted to train as often as possible.  My love for Karate eventually spread through my family too and they opened up an Amerikick location in Delran, NJ.  

Over the course of 30 years I have become…

  • A Sensei
  • A six time World Champion
  • A 6th Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate
  • A 2nd Degree Black Belt in Modern Arnis
  • A 1st Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • A Karate School owner

Karate is More Than A Hobby

My love of Karate has helped me to learn and grow as a person. I have built countless friendships because of karate. I’ve had Sensei’s that have become life long mentors. I’ve made friends that have become family. The best man at my wedding started out as one of my first sparring partners. I’ve had the honor of watching children I taught, grow up to become amazing karate teachers themselves. Now I even have the pleasure of teaching my own children karate in our own community.

My passion for teaching Martial Arts is because of the first hand experience I have on how it can affect your life. I want every student, child or adult, who walks through the door at Amerikick Delran to feel how I felt as a student. I want them to see the benefits I saw. Yes, karate is fun but it’s also hard work. Yes, there is a lot to learn but it will help you grow in so many ways. And yes, you will have the whole Amerikick Karate Community to help you along the way. I hope to see you on the mat!


Sensei Nick