Leading by Example: Junior Instructor Ms. Rebecca Quillen

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?

When I started training at Ripple Effect, I wanted to earn my black belt as a way to encourage my sons to continue. I knew it would be difficult, and I had doubts. I was up to the challenge, however; I thought if I could make it, it would be worth it to see the growth in my boys.

With regard to my own life, I thought earning our black belts would be a good bonding activity for my family.  As a white belt, I truly had no idea how much Ripple Effect would impact my own life and ignite my passion for the martial arts.

What are some actual challenges of earning a Black Belt and what have you learned from those challenges?

As I am working towards my black belt, one if the main challenges I find is being patient with myself as I go through the learning process. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to learn things quickly, which is often not the best way to learn something well.

How would you describe your approach to karate instruction and leadership? What have you learned from your instructors?

I would describe my approach to both instruction and leadership as relationship-based. People are complex creatures. Taking that time to build a relationship helps us to understand how best to help someone learn and grow. It also builds that team spirit that is essential to our journey to black belt and beyond.

I think one of the most powerful lessons I have learned from my instructors is that I don’t need to be able to do something to know I will be able to do it in the future. I can set goals that are beyond my current physical ability and set micro-goals to get me there.

What would you say to a new white belt student who you want to see earn their Black Belt?

First, I would tell that student that I believe in them. Then I would encourage said student to document their journey, including their personal WHY behind wanting to become a black belt in the beginning.

We all hit bumps in the road that can discourage us, but being able to look back and remember just how excited you were in the beginning and seeing how much progress you made along the journey towards black belt up to that point can get you over that bump and on towards your destination.

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