A Different Kind of Art

Dylan - Fort Collins, Colorado
Entered on November 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe

I believe that everyone should at least try the martial arts. It helps keep off stress and let out anger and tension in a safe environment.

I started karate about kindergarten, and got hooked immediately. Over the years, it’s taught me that even though I’m different, I can do anything “normal” people can do, I just operate differently. My arms and legs are proportionately much shorter then my torso, so I’m a lot shorter then most people, only 4’8″ at 15, whereas I could have been like anywhere from 5’8″ to 6′ even. Whenever I got sad about something, whether it was a bad day at school or something, I always cheered up when I got to karate, because there I knew I was about to have an awesome time, no matter what it was I was sad about.

When I was small, I couldn’t comprehend that I was different. I only did karate because my best friend’s dad owned the school, and I got to break stuff without getting in trouble. Every small boys dream, right? Throughout the years, though, my reasoning has shifted. Now, I do it not only for the pure pleasure of snapping through boards and fighting, but also because that the dojo (karate gym) is the only place that makes me feel like I was given the same chance as other people, because besides academically, I am much different then almost everyone else. My knees are weak, so I can’t run or wrestle or even hike very well. My knees are a little better now, thanks to surgery, but I still can’t really run.

About two years ago, on August 12th, 2006, right before I turned 14, I earned my junior blackbelt. It was incredible. The fruit of about 7 years of training, it was like the ultimate long-term project. Not only that, but that day I proved that I could do stuff other people could, sometimes I just had to do it differently. Now, I am nearing the test for my first degree blackbelt, which is also a big milestone.

Another milestone was early this summer, when I was asked if I could start to help teach karate. I believe that everyone should share this experience some time, because there’s nothing greater then walking into your local Wal-Mart or Target and hearing the high-pitched squeal of a little 6 year old screaming your name, then running and tackling you. It may be a little painful, but funny, cute, and enjoyable too. No matter how down you are at the time, this’ll pick you up faster then anything else I can think of.