What Karate Means To Me

I cannot imagine my life without karate. It is now very much part of my life and I look forward to attending class every week. It makes me be more open minded and I'm not scared to try new things. Karate has made me a well-rounded person with a keen interest in making the most out of life. I have inner strength and am not easily led by other people anymore.

Before I started karate, I was easily influenced by others. I had friends who made poor decisions and they were often in trouble at school. As their friend, I found myself entangled in this and was often in trouble as well. My parents thought I needed some discipline and suggested I start a karate class. After my first trial night, I was hooked. I was initially intimidated as I was the only child there but, everyone was so welcoming and helpful and I couldn't wait to come back again. Kimberley, Nicole and Vicki have been my mentors and I look up to them. These three women have guided me, not only through karate but through my adolescence.

Karate has changed me physically, mentally and spiritually. I am stronger, fitter and more health conscious. I am now a leader within my group instead of being the one always following. I believe in the power of meditation and often during times of stress I will meditate to calm myself down and clear my thoughts.

As I have progressed in karate, I sometimes teach either the class or one on one. This has helped me at school and with my public speaking. Teaching a class where there are older and younger students in it is scary but I got used to it as I did it more and more. When I present work in class I'm not shy and nervous anymore because of the practice I do at karate. I am a shy person but karate has taught me to be more confident.

I went through stages of my karate where I doubted myself and thought of quitting but something just didn't let me give up. I kept coming to every lesson and kept progressing. I think that as a young person at the time I wasn't mature enough to see how karate had changed me as a person but when I realised that I was becoming a better all-round person I knew that I couldn't quit. It was now part of my life, not just a hobby that filled my Tuesday and Thursday nights.

It's hard to see my future. When I try to imagine it I see me being a police officer. I feel confident that I can defend myself as a police officer because I do karate. I change my mind every 5 seconds about what I want my future to be although I know that I want to do karate. Karate is a very important part of my life. It gives me direction and purpose. It makes me strong and fit and ensures I stay healthy in both mind and body. I have met such wonderfully eclectic people who have enriched my life and always made me feel welcome and part of a very special group.

By Laura Soteriou, 14th September, 2015

Laura Soteriou began training at Shushinkai karatedo on 3rd February, 2011, at age 10 years. She was graded to Shodan on 10th October 2015, at age 15 years.