Sensei Dana Gochanour

I will admit that when my family started taking classes at United Karate Centers the idea of a black belt was in the back of my mind, but seemed so far away from white belt that I really didn’t entertain the thought again until earning a brown belt.  Simply persisting through the years and NOT QUITTING got me to the goal of a black belt.  The same willingness to be present at work and do my best every day gave me the Team Lead title and the day shift with two days off in a row.  Sad to say that in my line of work, my schedule is envied.  Knowing this, keeps me working hard every day to prove my boss made a good choice.  Being “here and now” is really good advice for life.  Being here and now will get you “there” when you “need to be”.  Little by little I learn and grow till the white belt turns into a black belt, and back to white again.

I am extremely proud to say I am a Black Belt.  Only by coming this far did I get to see how far there is still to go.  Most people I tell about being a black belt think that I know my stuff and can kick someone’s axx.  In the back of my mind I want to tell them how wrong they are.  I used to think the same thing, and the right time for me to find out I was wrong, was just when I did.  Who knows if I would have kept going?  Being ready to admit lack of knowledge and keep learning is a humbling experience.  Being a HUMBLE Black Belt is what I want to be known for.  It is true that the best way to learn something is to teach it.  I have taught other people things in Karate, only to find out I taught them wrong.  What a horrible feeling.  Embarrassment can ruin my day.  How else do we learn though?  I want to be perfect?  How boring!  Plus, being able to move on and admit being human builds tons of character.  Nobody wants to be around a know-it-all.  It is hard to hear criticism, for anyone.  I have learned a few questions to ask myself when receiving criticism.  Why are they telling me but not them?  Answer: I am mature enough to hear what they are saying and apply it.  Is it the truth?  If it is the truth, then I need to stop lying to myself.  Is it a big deal?  One instant in one person’s life compared to the whole world, I need to not take myself so seriously.  I am not saying to have a poor self-image, simply to be open to ideas while being confident in my own abilities and strengths.  I know what I know and I am what I am.  Popeye had it right.  And if a squinty-eyed, spinach eating, guy with a funny sounding laugh can be confident in who he is (I know he is a cartoon), then why can’t I be confident and happy with who I am?

It will be an honor to add “Black Belt” to who I am.

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