Last Thursday we had a few belt tests to mark the end of our time in one space and our transition back to our "home" at Resnik. Before the in-class portion of the testing begins, students are given a written exam to complete...usually just a few hours (if that) before class.
Those written tests are so valuable as they confirm things that I'm seeing in a student in training. More importantly to me though are those questions that give an opportunity for a student to share their insights toward training and life in general.
In response to the question of "How have you grown as a person since beginning as a white belt?" one student responded with, "I've learned to face difficult tasks with perseverance rather than panic." The other teen testing answered, "As a white belt I was timid, but now I have more confidence in what I'm doing in not only karate; but other areas in my life." Working with these two for the past few years, I can confidently say they're not blowing smoke. These two, and every single other student in Gaithersburg, have voluntarily joined a group where second best just isn't enough.
Over the years we've won a ton of medals and trophies...and even one USKA Heavyweight Championship belt! These aren't the prizes I'm looking for though...but they are pretty to look at. Rather, I'm looking to develop people of excellent character with a non-quitting, unstoppable spirit. These are the trophies that are literally walking out of Phoenix Gaithersburg every day.
If you're not with us, you'll never be a strong as you could be. You'll never be as determined, focused, or joyful as you could be. If you're not with us, you will always be second best.