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“What is my most personal accomplishment in Karate?”

by John Arfuso
(Las Vegas)

That was then

That was then

My most meaningful experiences or accomplishments in karate are many. How do I choose my most important accomplishment?

In fact, I can honestly say that karate has given me many memorable moments in my life. I never would have thought that my experiences in karate would have been so numerous. In fact, when I first donned my white belt 30 some years ago, I never would or could have imagined where I am today with my karate.

Having to pick a single most significant accomplishment in karate is not an easy task. I had to think long and hard on this very question given the need to single out one accomplishment over all others. I have many moments that are very meaningful to me. I would have to choose from events such as my earning my first degree Black Belt, my first trophy at a competitive tournament, and most recently being able to just complete a class after being out of commission for such a long period of time.

But, without question, my most personal accomplishment was being present at the Black Belt ceremony first held when I returned to train. Being a part of the testing board brought back some intense feelings. I have to honestly say that watching Ms. Young earn her Black Belt was a very significant moment in my life. I quietly cried while watching Master Sarac tie on her Black Belt for the first time. I am not quite sure exactly what I felt at that moment, but, in retrospect, I believe I felt intense feelings of pride.

Seeing her being belted was an important moment for me. It brought together thoughts and feelings that I had never felt as a younger man.

As we mature, the things that become meaningful to us change. Things that mean little or nothing to us while we were young, now take on significant meaning. I felt powerful emotions watching this take place.

I had seen the belting of many prior to Ms. Young, but seeing her get her belt was the first after many many years of maturation. I was deeply touched and moved. As for a feeling of accomplishment, this came from me being a part of something much larger than myself.

I was a part of something that is more meaningful and much more significant than me alone. I was a part of something very important and something very meaningful. Being a part of Song Moo Kwan and what it represents is clearly my most important accomplishment in karate.

Master Sarac has told us all that our perception changes over time and as we age. Our priorities are different, our opinions become more about others and less about ourselves. At least this is what has happened to me.

I think getting older has taught me to be more sensitive and compassionate. So, in my case, watching others accomplish their goals gives me great satisfaction. Especially seeing them gain meaningful experiences.

Earning and being awarded a Black Belt is a very meaningful moment indeed that gives me great satisfaction in knowing that I was a part of that process.

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