Ms. Kelly Clark thrives on learning from mistakes and teaching kids and adults to persevere. Here are her thoughts on what it means to become a junior instructor at Ripple Effect Martial Arts.
When you first started karate, what was a hope you had about earning your Black Belt? What did you imagine that would be like? How would it change your life?
I was about 10 years old, and just thought it would be fun. My parents thought it would help with my self esteem and anger management (it did).
What are some actual challenges of earning a Black Belt and what have you learned from those challenges?
I failed a progress check at my conditional black belt test, which meant I wouldn’t be able to test for my certified black belt at the next big test. However, since my family was going to be there testing I decided to participate in the weekend alongside them. I had fun participating and supporting my team and at the end of the weekend the instructors recognized my perseverance and gave me my black belt with the condition of earning my certification at the next test. I learned that failing is sometimes a good thing; it pushed me to work harder.
How would you describe your approach to karate instruction and leadership? What have you learned from your instructors?
I always want to make sure my students, especially the kids, are having fun while still learning their curriculum and the principles of black belt. I have learned it’s ok to be introverted and that you can still do great things and that it’s ok not to be perfect in taekwondo and life.
What would you say to a new white belt student who you want to see earn their Black Belt?
This depends on their age. To a younger student I would remind them how important regular practice is, even outside of class and that as the curriculum gets more difficult they may need to practice even more, but they will get it. To an older student (teens/adult) I would remind them that they shouldn’t push themselves to the point of breaking (literally) and that in the end this is about improving on your best and having fun doing it.