Linda is a 5th Degree Black belt at BWKS – this is her Thesis from 1999.
What you believe
all comes true…
A Black Belt Thesis By:
Linda C. Adams
Copyright 1999/2000 -All Rights Reserved
Whatever You Vividly Dream
Sincerely Believe &
Enthusiastically Ask For,
Must Inevitably Come to Pass…
It was a little over eight years ago when I first walked into Bob White’s Karate Studio….the day that the course of my life was to be altered in one of the most significant and profound ways I could ever have imagined. My son, Brandt, who was then just ten years old, had just come home from school one afternoon and was sitting with me as I was going through some mail. One piece happened to be a coupon advertising karate lessons. Seeing himself as the next “Karate Kid”, my son immediately begged me to take him to the studio to sign up. At that time, I didn’t know Karate from Tae Kwon Do, but after some discussion, we decided that we would at least take the initial introductory offer to see if it was going to be something that Brandt was really interested in. After all, as a typical Mom of a small boy, we had tried several different sports, investing time and more than a little money in everything from baseball to hockey. Not wanting to discourage Brandt, I gave myself over to the thought of providing my son with the opportunity to expand his already proficient athletic skills, and of course, I found the idea of knowing a little about self-defense, enticing as well! Once we arrived at the studio, Brandt decided that maybe he was just a little too shy to try karate after all, at least by himself. And that as they say, was all she wrote! I don’t remember what exactly I promised my son that day, but I know that once we had him signed up, he wasn’t willing to get up in front of anyone for a lesson unless his “mommy” got up there too!
And now, here I sit, a Third Degree Brown Belt, contemplating what exactly it means to me to become a Black Belt. At this point, I feel incapable of describing in mere words, what finding myself at this level of my training means to me. It means so many things and in so many ways, that to try to pass along in a simple way, any of them, is a formidable task.
There are many facets to a diamond as it slowly emerges from its uncut form at the hands of a talented jeweler and moves towards the beautiful, rare and valuable gem it becomes once the necessary steps are taken to strip away, chip away, form, polish and shine the rough stone into a jewel.
Becoming a Black Belt for me has been more than just a process of learning a few self defense techniques and some forms. It has been a beautiful, challenging journey down the road of Self Discovery and has allowed me the freedom of full and complete artistic expression of who I am as a constantly evolving human being. With a history of more than 20 years in the modeling and entertainment industries, and being blessed with exceptional physical form and beauty, I was expected to be seen and not heard. To be thin, not fit. To be the perfect expression of the object of other people’s desires. As a direct result of the tremendous pressure to “look perfect”, coupled with a deep and innate shy nature, I found myself locked more and more deeply into a nightmarish and destructive cycle of self-abuse in the form of anorexia; and self-loathing in the form of a negative attitude created by the notion that I was never quite good enough, or perfect enough to gain the approval of those who mattered most to me.
Now I know that as human beings, we all grow up seeking approval from those around us as a part of our psychological conditioning. I’m not saying this notion is right, only that I know it for what it is. I also know that right now you are reading this with a feeling of in credulousness. After all, how could someone who so obviously has a great many gifts and talents, both physically and mentally, come from a position of lacking self-esteem? Unfortunately, it comes quite naturally to a great many young girls and boys, especially those who are put under the pressures of the modeling world and the oftentimes unrelenting demands of parents who mistakenly assume that if their children look good in all that they are, say and do, then they will quite naturally look good as the parent.
Mmmm, not a very good position to be in! Now needless to say, that if you are going to learn martial arts, you must obviously train hard physically, mentally and spiritually. I learned immediately as I began my training at the studio, that starvation diets coupled with a severely distorted body image based on past experiences, was not going to get me very far. I found it extremely difficult to train my body without feeling physically ill and immediately exhausted. After all, cardiovascular fitness had never been a pre-requisite to looking good on the cover of a magazine! I also discovered right away that I craved the intensity of the instructors’ direction as well as the challenge of the physical workout we endured during each training session. Each time I left the studio, I felt emotionally high and looked forward with eager anticipation to the next class. It had been a long time since I had allowed myself the opportunity to compete against my own physical and emotional limitations, but now, I found I had no choice if I were to gain any success in this new endeavor.
Now don’t get me wrong, I had spent plenty of years riding horses, motorcycles, and hiking with my family and friends as a young girl, but it had been many years since I had actually pushed my physical body towards accomplishing the things I was now trying to do in the martial art known as American Kenpo Karate.
And now, as the last eight years have passed, I believe I have moved in the direction of what is our natural progression of physical, emotional and spiritual maturity, insight and personal awareness of what meaning our individual lives hold in the macro cosmic nature of the Universe. As the days go by, I have turned inward towards a deeper form of self-examination. I have discovered over the years that although my outward physical appearance is still important to me and to others, it is important for different reasons.
Now I can thoroughly enjoy who I am physically, without the pressures and lack of self-esteem from which I used to suffer. I appreciate deeply the poise, the beauty and the genetic body I have been so blessed with. And the older I get, the more I understand and appreciate the nature of the physical, emotional and spiritual maturation process.
I have become more and more focused on how I am living my life and what and to whom I am contributing. I have been taking in the role of mentor and coach that Mr. Bob White has been playing in my life, and seeing his example through giving, and the high level of integrity with which he lives, I have been examining my own. The weight of balance has been shifting slowly but surely, from that of student to that of teacher. Mr. White has always given me the gift of belief in myself and encouraged me to become all that I can be. He is so in touch with all those whose lives he touches as mentor and coach. He knows instinctively because he has been in this position for so long and because he takes a very personal interest in each of his students and what we need in our training in order to progress in a positive direction.
A little over a year ago, I was given what I consider to be the great privilege of teaching the beginning children’s class at the studio. Given my propensity for patience and the great love I have for children, I took up the challenge eagerly and quite honestly, with some hesitation.
Moving into the role of teacher myself began to enhance my growing realization of who I am as a human being. It is a wonderful combination of give and take, with each class giving me overwhelming feelings of pride and accomplishment as I see each student progress and grow physically, mentally and emotionally. Each time a student tests for his or her next belt, I am so happy for them as I know exactly how they are feeling!
I think for a while I was under the impression that it was part of my required education process in our art to teach the kids and I felt shy and quite inadequate as a teacher. However, I have come to realize that once again, Mr. White in all his wisdom and deep knowing of what each of his students needs to progress, saw in me the perfect position and at the perfect time in my life, to begin moving into the role of mentor and coach myself. And so, as I sit here writing this thesis, (after throwing out several other more technical forms of this project, some more than once!) I have come to the conclusion that my writing with regards to what karate means to me, must come down to this:
I have found a most incredible and inspiring mentor and coach in Mr. White (as well as from many of the Black Belts at the studio from whom I have had the privilege of learning). And from that, it must also come to the knowledge of becoming who I am as an individual in this art; that of mentor and coach to the children I train and as an inspiration to others who are coming up through the ranks. What an awesome realization for me! It is just incredible to believe that I am here now, at this point in my life. Once a shy and painfully thin young lady who so desperately lacked self-esteem and confidence; to a mature, physically fit, woman of grace, some sense of wisdom, and a newfound inner peace generated from the confidence I have gained through my training. The power of belief in ourselves, can and does work many miracles.
For most of my life I have aspired to make a meaningful contribution to the world as we know it, to make some sort of difference in the lives of the people around me. And now, here I am! Making a difference in children’s lives. Taking the opportunity to not just teach them karate, but to inspire belief in themselves and their abilities. To EMPOWER them! I love being part of the team that generates confidence in the children at the studio as they train so that they might take it out into their world and have a greater opportunity to make a difference themselves and to make that difference in such a magnificent and powerful way, that they too feel confident and fulfilled in the knowledge of who they are as well as the contributions they make in the world.
I have also come to know that karate doesn’t just mean getting a Black Belt, at least not to me. It is part of who I am as a growing and more fully realized human being each day of my life. I know that being a mentor and a coach to these children is fulfilling in me, a long dreamed of desire of being able to make a difference….and so I do! A mentor is someone who patiently and with infinite wisdom, because they care about you as an individual, and with unconditional love, guides you and shares a part of themselves with you in order to enable and empower you to become all that you can and want to be.
Mr. White, for me, you are that mentor. You enable and empower me each day to become all that I can and want to be. You consistently and with infinite patience and wisdom, share with me so many of your own special gifts, not only in the martial art of Kenpo Karate, but in the ways of life.
I am so honored that you have chosen me to pass along those gifts as well as giving some of my own, as I give back to you and the children at the studio through teaching, coaching, and becoming a mentor myself. I have always heard the call, I just never dreamed it would be in this way. This incredible WAY!!! I am so proud to be a part of the BWKS family of students, and through you Mr. White, a student of our Grandmaster, Ed Parker Sr. There are simply no words to express how I feel about myself and about my life right now. I am still and always will be a student myself. Not just of martial arts, but of life. And as each moment unfolds, I am so grateful for the opportunity to live fully and contribute in a meaningful way. I love choosing!
In summary, I must say that as I sit here now, just weeks away from testing for my Black Belt, I understand so much more fully that this step is just that… a step along the path of my journey. There are such vast amounts of knowledge and opportunity that exist in this world and which are unfolding before me each and every day in so many new ways.
I am grateful and joyful, and relish to the fullest, the process of creating myself each moment in this time I know as my life!
When I was a young girl, I foolishly believed that I had to be somewhere or have certain things in order to be happy. I know differently now that it is the process, not the end result, which gives us the happiness we long for. I weep tears of joy and gratitude at the beauty of life and all that I am right here, right now, in this Precious Present!
I thank you, Mr. White, for giving me the gift of Kenpo.
I thank you, Mr. White, for giving me the gift of yourself as my Mentor.
I thank you, Mr. White, for giving me the gift of belief in myself so that I might become all that I can be in all that I am.
And I thank you, Mr. White for giving me the gift of becoming a mentor myself.
I want to continue the proud and honorable tradition of Ed Parker’s American Kenpo Karate, and so, it is with great pride and a humble spirit that I take this next step!
Just a few of my favorite quotes:
“No power on earth is greater than an individual’s power to dream, visualize, and imagine…”
“Success is building self-esteem in yourself and others through service.”
“Attitude more than anything else, will determine whether you are a success or not.”
-Dr. Robert Schuller
“Develop the self-discipline to produce life-changing willpower by deliberately choosing and planning the positive creation of your life.”
“Destiny isn’t something that is meant to be… Destiny is created by me.”
-Linda C. Adams
With Deepest Respect and Admiration,
Linda C. Adams
Third Degree Brown Belt
Student of Mr. Bob White
Ed Parker’s American Kenpo Karate