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!