Sunday, April 19, 2015

My Karate History // Shodan Black Belt

As ya'll may or may not know, my brother Chris and I tested for our Shodan (1st degree) black belt in karate, on March 28th. One of the many requirements for our test was to share our personal karate history. Since I haven't posted in a while and currently don't feel like doing a picture laden post, I decided to share it with you all.
I have talked a little bit about karate on here, but have never shared how much a part of my life it is. I hope this will give you all a little bit of a glimpse into my life, and one of my passions. And so without further ado, here is my personal karate history of my training with the ABKA:

I started karate in the spring of 2009 at Surrey Hills Baptist Church under Sensei Holzbauer. Karate is neither something I originally chose or wanted to do, but is something I am now passionate about. I started out of obedience to my father, and after a few short months of beginning I realized that this was enjoyable! The karate itself wasn't bad, and I really enjoyed being around other Christians who were so loving, accepting, and positive - Something I had rarely experienced outside of my family.
About a year after starting I became very interested in the missions aspect of the association. I was amazed at how God was using these martial artists to do great things for people all around the world, and I yearned to be a part if it all.
On May 24th, 2011 our family's home was destroyed by an F5 tornado. We continued to go to karate all during cleanup which lasted 5 months. In September just 1 1/2 weeks before moving to North Idaho, Chris and I tested and received our third brown belt. After moving across the country we were all unsure how to continue with the ABKA and remained stagnant for 2 1/2 years. During that time, black belt was always in the back of my mind as something I really wanted to reach, I just didn't think it was possible.
Last year after much preparation, our whole family was able to leave the ranch in Idaho and come down to the camp to intensively train during the month of June. At the end of three weeks we had over 100 hours of training behind us, and Chris and I double promoted to 1st Brown.
Over the last few months, there were many times I didn't think it was realistic to try to test for black belt. Just finding the time to train was a big challenge. As the oldest of 11 children I help run our home and ranch, and was in the midst of starting a business as well. I even ended up having to put college on hold in order to meet this goal. The biggest thing that kept me encouraged and moving forward was the sincere belief that it was God's will for my life to reach black belt and then be able to teach others. The last few months have been a `time of deepening my trust in The Lord to work things out, and having patience as he does so in His timing. I know it only by God's grace that I am here today.
There have been many people who have had a hand in my training, I could never thank them all. Sensei Holzbauer has been my head instructor from start to finish and has always pushed me towards excellence. In addition to karate, he has also taught me much about living a life sold out for Christ, and simply saying "thank you" to him doesn't seem adequate. Thank you to all the folks at Surrey Hills but particularly Suzanne Greenway, Joe Turinetti, Jillian Stokes, Greg Stokes, Steve Cordes, and Nick Davis. Thank you to Christa for her love and support and all the time she has poured into us. Thank you to Paul Housley and Dennis Hurley for their help with sword kata and making that happen long distance.
Thank you to my Daddy. He had been a constant support and driving force behind this adventure, willing to do whatever it takes so that we could continue with the ABKA. I never would have started if it hasn't been for him neither would I have been able to continue. Thank you to Mom for backing me up and encouraging me when I needed it. She has been very selfless on many occasions by taking care of the young children so we could train, even when she was yearning to be training as well. Thank you to all my siblings for stepping up to take over some of mine and Christopher's responsibilities so we could get in the training we needed for this. I couldn't ask for a better clan of people to work, train, and grow up with. Christopher, Matthew, Katherine, Lauralea, Paul, Samuel, Calvin, Gracie, Julia, and Jack - I love you all.

You never know, how much starting something new can change your life.  Never would I have guessed 6 years ago that karate would be as big a part of my life as it is.  As the season of training for my black belt has closed, I am excited at the new seasons and goals that lie ahead!

What is one (or some!) of your passions?  Do you have any big goals you are currently working towards?


1 comment:

  1. It is so encouraging to see other teens so passionate about Christ and His specific calling on their life. Maria, you and your family are a real encouragement to me (and I'm sure many others). I really appreciate your passion for vision and accomplishing goals based on God's calling. It is truly rare. It's neat to hear some more of the journey God's taken you on.
    You probably don't want to hear everything I'm passionate about and the visions and goals I have (because the list is quite lengthy), but I will say; I am passionate about Christ and His kingdom and I'm passionate about encouraging other teens to become passionate for Christ and the specific vision He's called them to, so that they walk and fellowship with Christ in a personal way and therefore stand out from the crowd, radiating the light of Christ and showing the one and only true way. Thank you for being an example and walking boldly in the narrow way and shining Christ's light unashamedly!
    (P.S. You where right! The sunsets down here in New Mexico are comparable to those we get in North Idaho.)


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