January has been a really productive month for me. In my last journal entry, I talked about how I wanted to improve the consistency of my training and I feel as though I made good steps towards achieving that. This past month I was able to consistently attend class and overall I think y training has improved in that short amount of time. I specifically felt improvement towards the end of the month and really ramped up my training. Additionally, this month I worked a lot on my fitness goal, which is to run 3 miles and have an average pace of 9 minutes. I was able to establish a schedule for when I planned on running and how far. I also started using a running app to track my progress and ensure I have the information handy for the end of the test. I decided that after some of my runs I would take a short video of myself summarizing how far I ran that day and how I felt and what I wanted to improve on for my next run. Running is something that I have always hated but I recognize that endurance and speed is beneficial for the activities that I do and it's something that I really want to improve so I hope that through this process I can improve my endurance and speed and be able to translate it into other activities in my life. Overall, I hope to continue with my progress from this month as I continue with my test.
Hello, So this month has not been very productive in terms of my Black Belt testing. My plan was to read 2 books this month, and get to a point where I could consistently get one rung on the salmon ladder, as well as flesh out my plan for my leadership project. However, I have accomplished none of these things. I read one book(I have not yet written the blog entry for this, but will get on it shortly), didn’t do any work on the salmon ladder specifically, and didn’t talk to anyone to figure out what specifically might be needed at the school I am looking to help. This month I was very busy with a few different things that I should have planned better for, the end of the semester saw a big jump in the work load I had, and in addition the play that I am in has kicked into gear which means I have a lot of memorizing to do, but those are just excuses. The fact of the matter is I didn’t manage my time very well, and I did not stay disciplined with allocating time to work on what I need to for the black belt test. There were often times throughout this month where on various assignments I procrastinated, and ended up piling up work for myself making it much more difficult for me to get done the black belt work where the consequences of not getting it done feel much less immediate, so this is something I will need to work on. In addition, I failed to get into the habit of reading 20 minutes before going to bed as I had hoped to do at the beginning of the month. In order to make up for the lost time in the month of January, I will try to make up for it next month. My goal is to finish 3 books by the end of February, I will keep the same short term goal I had last month for this month as I feel I will still have plenty of time to get to the point that I would like to be at. In terms of my leadership project I will make a detailed plan for the process, and begin the early phases which will likely mean finding people to help me or beginning fundraising. Hopefully next month I will have learned from the mistakes I made this month, and I will have a more positive report to share with you all.
As my journey continues in it's course I've met more walls that prevent me from achieving my goals. As I've stated in past journals of my academic weaknesses that result from my ADHD (organization, planning or scheduling, etc..), studying for test, quizzes or different kinds of assessments is something that follows suit as well. I fully admit that I'm very bad when it comes to test taking, well I'm bad at taking tests in a complicated way. It really depends how fast the class moves through material, the AP and Honors class that I'm in move at a much faster pace so it's difficult for me to retain all the information. In my regular level math class, we move at a slower pace and I absorb the information like a sponge, I don't spend more than 20 minutes studying for a math test (including the Midterm) and I get at least a 95. Since my AP class and Honors class move at a faster pace, I have to study more to do better on the tests. These test are also application based instead of defining certain concepts, requiring another level of studying. The problem for me is I don't really know how to effectively study for these classes, so my test grades weren't that great and affected my grades. For AP Environmental Science I got a D on the Midterm and a C+ as my semester grade. I also earned a C on the Midterm in Honors Biology and a C+ as my final semester grade. (term 1 and 2 determine 40% of semester grade each and the Midterm is 20% of the semester grade). In order to reach my personal goal of having at least a B in all my classes, I need to tear down the wall which is preventing me from doing so: testing and studying. Starting one step at a time, I've already gone to my teachers and asked for their suggestions on what I should do when studying for the tests and quizzes. I'm also going to ask my tutor on what he suggests I should do to increase my studying efficiency, as well as visiting my teachers after school for extra help. I'm hoping that this'll help me go from taking one step at a time to jogging in the aims of my goal. On a side note, I know I've talked about ADHD and how it works/ how it affects me. I found a video that couldn't have explain what having ADHD is like any better. I would greatly appreciate it if you could click the link below and take about 7-10 minutes of your time to truly understand what life with ADHD is like and how it affects those who have it. Thank you for reading my Black Belt Journal and I apologize that this was much longer that others. Check back next month for my February Black Belt Journal. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhcn1_qsYmg
As the new year starts, I have really committed even more to the black belt test as it is approaching soon, and I have been able to refocus myself for the new year. For my personal and fitness goals, I have established my beginning point/basis through video and photos. At the moment I can do about 5 “perfect” push-ups with decent form, but I will need to up that number and improve my form for the test. In order to do so, I will need to practice my push-ups often. My goal is to attempt to do 10 push-ups a day. I am worried that I will forget to do this, or I will not be able to complete this, so I am going to try to do these push-ups every night before I go to bed. In addition to my goals, I also need to start working on my leadership project. I want to be able to help someone in need through it, but I have to find someone who needs help locally. I am thinking about doing a bake sale or drive for either money or supplies for the cause. Another thing I have really committed to in this new month is being consistent with my training. I have trained twice a day for every week of the month (besides midterms week) and when I miss a day, I go three times the next week. This has helped me to enhance my skills and learn and remember the new techniques and strike combinations we are learning for the cycle. Lastly, for this month’s black belt training, I decided to go to class and then stay for the black belt training. This was almost 3 hours of straight training, which I was very concerned about, but it ended up not being that bad and I had consistent energy the whole time. I am going to try and continue doing this for the rest of the black belt trainings because I am trying to build up my endurance so I have enough energy for the 5-hour test. Additionally, on Mondays I also teach from 4:00-5:45 and usually stay for class from 7:15-8:30 which will hopefully also help me to build endurance for completing the test.
This month I’ve made a lot of progress on my goals which is exciting. I’ve started doing handstands against the wall before I start training, just to get used to being upside down. When I first attempted to do the handstand against the wall I was able to do it after a few tries but I couldn’t hold it for that long and it didn’t have good form. Now that I’ve been practicing them for a while i’m able to do the handstand against the wall with good form and hold it for about 15 second. I’m starting to get used to being upside down, and what it feels like, and i’m now beginning to try to bring my feet off the wall and work on my balance. I’ve accomplished this once or twice, but need to work on my form and how long I hold it for. I’m excited to continue to work on my handstand and improving it. I also registered for a competition on February 9th. I was kinda hesitant to register in the beginning because I didn't feel as though I would be ready. My father then informed me that I should do it because I would never be ready and I just have to give it a shot. I’m only a little bit nervous but only because it's something i’ve never done before. I’m also very excited because i’ve been wanting to compete for the past couple of year but something always got in the way. I’m trying to go into the competition with low expectations and treat it like a trial run for hopefully future competitions. My sister and I have been thinking about our leadership project and some possible ideas. I think we are going to do a joint project and work together. Our grandfather runs a non profit that focuses on encouraging kids to be active and healthy so we have been bouncing around different projects we could do with that resource. We are hoping to make more progress with the project in the next couple months.
As I continue with the third month of my black belt journey and approach the new year, I am focusing and working harder on my preparation as my goals are cemented. However, this month was probably the hardest in terms of the process so far. With the holidays and all the stress that comes with them, on top of the many school assignments that the teachers assign before break I had trouble keeping up with my regular training, not just my black belt preparation. I missed a few days during the week and was not really able to commit to all aspects of the black belt training, especially the healthy eating over the holidays! I made some adjustment and cemented my fitness and personal goals. My fitness goal is still to do 10 perfect push-ups, while I changed my personal goal to spend a maximum of 30 minutes on social media per school day and a maximum of 1 hour on the weekends. I have determined my baseline for this goal, but I really need to focus on my fitness goal of achieving 10 perfect push-ups and working on that every day. As the new year comes, I hope to adjust to my schedule and become consistent with my training along with focusing on achieving my fitness goal and working towards it every day. Additionally, I need to establish an idea for my leadership project that I will accomplish in the next couple of months.
I didn’t feel as good about the month of December as I did about November. There was a lot thing going on in different parts of my life that got a little overwhelming and stressful. However I did feel like this month I made my training very consistent and regular. Also when I was training I felt good and like i had a lot of energy. We had another Black Belt training and it was my favorite so far. We worked on grappling which I like a lot. Also we were able to do some live training at the end that I really enjoyed and thought it helped to see how you perform under stress. We didn’t have a lot of classes this week where we went over new things or instruction because the first two weeks of december were stripe testing and then we had a fun week. Sometimes I do prefer when there is less instruction and down time during classes because you really get to see how well you can do techniques without instruction and also see how good your memory is. As far as my goals go i’ve been making progress on some of them. I have now progresseed my pushups and can do 10 with my toes wide. I haven't really done a lot with my handstand goal but I really need to get on that because I don't have that much time. For my flexibility I have been stretching and trying to do so everyday or every other day. I haven’t seen a lot of changes since I started doing that but them again it's only been a few weeks. In 2019 i’m going to start to try to work on each goal in some way every day.
This month went really well for me in terms of the black belt test. I was able to set up the blog where I will be writing about all of the books that I am reading which you can see here: https://scrothschild45.wixsite.com/reading so far I am only one book in, but will be ramping it up after the new year, I just wanted to get this set up, and the real work will begin next year. Since I am shooting for 14 more books by the end of the test which is in June, I will need to read approximately one book every two weeks which will be difficult for me on top of school and everything else, but that is the point. I feel I am at the point now where I am rarely craving sugar, and even less often going for the candy which I have been trying to cut back on which I am really happy about. I hope to keep up this momentum, and not lose the ground that I have made on this issue. Recently I joined a play at my school which has caused my attendance at martial arts to be sporadic at best, so I will need to work on managing my time better over the course of the next couple months to try and fit everything in. When I am at martial arts I feel that I do pretty well, but it is still really important that I try to get in more frequently. This month I began work on learning how to do the salmon ladder, I got a lot of advice and tips on how to do it, and after a few tries I decided to record a few videos of me trying to do it and to my surprise got a rung on one of the tries, it was probably a fluke, but I am still happy about it. Here are the baseline videos of me attempting the salmon ladder: https://youtu.be/6FCaFeV91vg
Thank you for reading, Sam
As I continue down my journey to black belt I've started to encounter some road blocks, mainly for my personal goal. School work is starting to pile on more and more and it's becoming quite difficult to find time to complete all of it. As someone with ADHD planning and time management is very difficult for me compared to others, as I mentioned in one of my previous journals. To counter these difficulties I'm working with both my teachers and organizational tutor on the next steps I need to take. I've also been working on my fitness goal, which is to do 120 sit ups in a row. I can currently do between 80-90 in a row as seen in the video linked below. The video is 2 minutes long, but there is an option to speed up the video by clicking the gear icon in the bottom right corner if you don't feel like watching me do sit-ups for 2 minutes, I understand I would also think that it get repetitive after a little bit. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qXFldIBuFKyZxTlXE_OYyBeEiXrSeVQr/view?usp=sharing For my community service project I'm trying to do a clothing drive, further planning is need to make that official. An update on that will be posted in my next months journal so if your interested be sure to check in next month.
To be perfectly honest this month has been rough. With the end of the year approaching, a lot of stuff tends to pile up in the last couple of weeks of December and I felt that significantly this month. At school, I had at least one assignment due in every class, the week leading up to break, so it was a lot of work being piled on, right before Christmas Break. It was hard to focus on the school work with the break being so close. For example, I had a history project due the last day of school before break and it was so hard to focus and complete the work, but once I did it felt so good to be done. At home, we have my moms whole family staying with us, so it is a lot of people in one space and with all the work I had to do for school I felt suffocated at times. That being said, I think the Christmas break has been really nice, to just relax, breathe and spend time with family without having to worry about other things. I recognize that my training has not been as consistent as I would like and I hope that I can get back on track when we return from the break because I really saw an improvement in my overall well-being when I was consistent with my training. I am looking forward to the New Year and having somewhat of a fresh start. I think this year has the potential to be a really good one and I can't wait to continue the journey to black belt into the new year.
I am going to start off with some ways in which I think I need to improve throughout the rest of the test, then I will talk about things I think I have been doing well, and finally I will talk about some of my goals that I would like to accomplish by the end of the black belt test. So I have pretty bad self control when it comes to sweets, so my dieting has not gone too well, I will often find myself eating some type of sweet just compulsively, usually when I am bored which is a really bad habit. This I think will be one of my biggest challenges this year is working on my disipline and eating habits. I do think that I have gotten slightly better as the month went on due to advice from Sensei Paul on how to deal with this(highly recommend by the way, whenever I have gone to him with a problem he is very helpful,) such as, drinking more water trying to wait out the cravings, substituting the sweets with an actual meal or something more healthy, or getting sugar from natural sources such as fruits. Another somewhat related thing that I have had trouble with is that I dont drink enough water throughout the day which can sometimes lead to cramps when I am in martial arts class. My solution to this is that I am going to start bringing a water bottle with me to school and make sure that by the end of the day I finish it twice over, this way it is much easier to keep myself accountable on this front. I think I am doing a good job staying in good physical and mental shape, making sure I am working out etc. I think I am doing a good job staying sharp on my techniques especially in terms of grappling. For the black belt test, we all needed to set two goals, one pertaining to our personal lives and the other pertaining to our fitness. My personal goal is to read 15 books by the end of the test. I plan on creating a blog of some kind within the next month where I will discuss the books that I have read and what I have gained from them. I used to read much more when I was younger, but in recent years, I have fallen out of the practice, and it is something that I really value, so I think this will be a great way to re-establish the habit. I also don’t have a full list of books that I am going to read so feel free to suggest books if you have one you really liked. For my fitness goal, I will be trying to learn how to do the salmon ladder(if you don’t know what it is, I really suggest you look up some videos, it is a really cool ninja warrior obstacle!) I am hoping that by the end of the test I will be able to do five rungs on the salmon ladder. My sister will be a big help with this as she has a lot of experience with ninja warrior, so i will be using her as a resource to help me with the technique, and will be doing plenty of pull ups to try and work the muscles that will help me with this. I plan on documenting this process by taking a few videos a month of me trying to do the salmon ladder, and will edit them together at the end to show my progress.
Thank you for reading, Sam
In my journal entry for the month I also talk about my goals and how I will reach them:
The second month into my black belt journey, I am very excited as I finally earned my advanced brown belt meaning I’m definitely going to be testing for my black belt this year! One thing I am working on is keeping the energy and determination it took to earn my advanced brown belt throughout my black belt testing months. Another development in the testing process is that we established our personal and fitness goals that we will strive to reach throughout the test. My fitness goal is to do 10 perfect push-ups. In order to achieve this goal I am going to do push-ups at least 3 times during the week and during training when we are doing push-ups, I will do as many push-ups as I can on my feet before going to my knees. Additionally, my personal goal I came up with is to try and spend an average/maximum of 2 hours working on my homework at home. In order to do this I will time myself and try to assign a time limit to all my tasks, and limit outside distractions such as my phone, YouTube or other websites. I will also try to get as much homework done as I can during study periods in school. I am very motivated to work towards these fitness and personal goals, and hopeful that I can achieve them. However, I know it will take a lot of perseverance and hard work in the following months.
November has been a good month for me. I got back on the mats for teaching which i’m very excited about. It has helped me better understand techniques from this cycle because I am teaching them to someone else. Also in November I have felt really good about my training and overall performance in class. I’ve been finding that I have more energy and don't get as tired as I used too. At our second group training session we discussed our personal and physical goals. I decided my physical goal(s) are going to be, 10 perfect pushups, to work on my flexibility, and be able to hold a handstand for 5 seconds. I picked the 10 pushups because it is something required for the test and I figured out it is something I need to work on. To help me reach that goal I will be doing pushups at home and in class. As I go on I will gradually increase the difficulty of my push up until I can do 10 perfect ones. As far as the flexibility goal, I chose that because flexibility has always been something i've struggled with. I figured having better flexibility will make me a better martial artist, so I made it one of my goals. To reach this goal I will need to stretch. I will probably start with easier stretches that i do a couple days i a week and work my way up to more challenging stretches that I will do everyday. The handstand goal was something I decided because it is something I have always wanted to know how to do so I figured now was a better time than ever. To reach this goal I have to figure out what different steps it will take to end up in a handstand and then practice those steps. For my personal goal I decided to make it that i am going to compete. It has been something I have always wanted to do but something has gotten in the way. It is something I don’t know a lot about, so I will have to figure out a few details before I actually end up competing. This is the goal I’m the most excited about completing and trying because recently I’ve wanted to really see how good my jujitsu is. I’m excited to start to work on each of these goals and I think they will help me become a better martial artist.
This past month I have been focusing a lot on the goals I have set for myself. My personal goal was harder for me to determine, than my fitness goal, but when thinking about what my personal goal was going to be I started to think about how I spend my time each day and discovered that I was spending a lot of unnecessary time on my phone simply scrolling through social media. So in order to make better use of my time, I decided that spending less time on my phone was ideal. More specifically, my personal goal for the test is to use my phone for less than 2 hours a day. I have been using the feature on my iPhone called Screen Time. The feature gives you a daily average of phone usage based on the week, every Sunday. In order to ensure that I was going to spend less time on my phone, I deleted a lot of the apps that I was spending excessive amounts of time on. Finally, I was able to set up the Screen Time feature on my iPhone to send me notifications every Sunday that give me my daily average based on the past week. I have been screenshotting those averages and saving them in order to be able to compile them at the end. Through trying to achieve this goal, I have found myself procrastinating less and being able to finish tasks on time. My fitness goal came pretty easy to me because I also play hockey so I knew that I wanted to do something that would also help me progress in that sport and two similarities I found between the two were speed and endurance. So for my fitness goal, I decided that I want to be able to run 3 miles while maintaining a pace of 9 minutes per miles. If I reach this goal before the test in June I plan to increase it. I have a running app on my phone, called Runtastic, that tracks your runs and pace, so I plan to use that during the course of my training to complete the goal. While it's been easy to work on my personal goal because it's something I have to be conscious of, I haven’t done much work with my fitness goal so I hope to work more on it in the coming months. I really hope that the process of working to complete my fitness goal helps me in other aspects of my life, for example, perseverance and as I said before being able to translate my training onto the ice for hockey.
As I mentioned in my previous monthly journal, my personal goal is school related. Previously I said I wanted to achieve honor roll for the first and second semester. I thought that I should edit this goal of mine and came up with this: I want to get a B for all my classes throughout the year, and I actually came close to my goal.
Only one grade was a C! Some of you reading this may wonder why I chose this as my goal. For those who don't know, I have very strong ADHD. In my previous school years I didn't do so well due to this because I have very poor organizational, trouble staying focused for long periods of time, and am very forgetful. Previously, I would just use my memory to keep track of my homework assignments. This lead me to become very close friends with doing everything the night before the due date, including whole projects. I constantly had missing assignment and my grades went for a ride on a rollercoaster. By the end of last school year I decided that I shouldn't use my ADHD as an excuse and I should start working on my problems. This goal is in place to help me keep myself more organized trying different ways for keeping track of my schedule and planning my assignments. Thank you for reading this months journal, if you haven't read my previous journal I would appreciate it if you do and stay tuned for next months update.
The journey to black belt is a rigorous but exciting path that'll change me for the better. I'm really excited about working with the other black belt candidates and helping each other reach our goals. The team this year is full of energy and we've been slowly working together and connecting more and more each time we meet. Regardless of the teams cohesiveness, everyone displays the intent they have on reaching their goals. Some goals of mine I'd like to achieve before by the end of the test is, achieving honor roll for the first and second semester of school, have at most one missing assignment per term, and increase my core endurance. I'm hoping this journey to black belt will help me be more confident when facing challenging situations that could derail me and further my knowledge of what steps to take to keep myself grounded.
Starting off my black belt journey, I have so many emotions of excitement, nervousness, and enthusiasm. Ever since I stepped on the mat at age 9, I was determined to achieve my black belt. I’m excited to finally work towards that goal, and even more excited to work towards it with some of my closest friends including both of my siblings who are going for their junior black belts! However, I’m also very nervous about the next months to come, as I am apprehensive about keeping up with the commitment and energy required to earn my black belt. Throughout this journey, I hope to be able to become not only stronger physically, but also mentally and emotionally. I am eager to gain and strengthen my traits of perseverance, time management and stamina throughout the course of the test and training, and I’m very happy to start the testing process this year.
A reason I am excited to start this 9 month process is because I now have a goal i'm working towards. Before this I felt like I didn't have a lot to train for because I had achieved the highest rank of brown belt. I still enjoyed training but felt like I needed something to push me and a goal to strive for. Recently, i’ve felt really good about my training, and I think it is because I finally have an overall purpose. Also, i’m excited to train for my black belt because it is a goal i've wanted to achieve since I was a blue belt. Throughout this process I hope to learn new things about myself through the leadership project. I’ve never participated in a project like that and i'm excited to keep coming up with ideas, and putting them into actions. I’m not too worried or nervous for anything yet but, i’m nervous for the test itself, solely because of the length. Five hours seems like a very long time and i'm afraid I will get too tired. Throughout the 9 months I will definitely be working on my endurance so i’m ready for that five hour test at the end of it all. For the months of september and october i was unable to focus all of my time on training because of other sports commitments, but now that that is over, i'm really excited to start to focus more of my time on training regularly. I am also excited to get back on the mats, and teaching because its been something i’ve missed in the time I took off. I think that teaching will also help with my overall understanding of material. I’ve always been told that a good way to learn and understand things is to teach it to someone else, so i think teaching will help me make sure i’m understanding everything. I’m excited for our first group training session and do the runthrough of all the needed material. I think it will be helpful to know everything we need to know and figure out what tecniquices I need to work on more and what teniquices I feel pretty good about. I’ve been keeping track of each week and recording how I feel about my training and health in general, and its been helping a lot and i like looking back and seeing progress i’ve made or seeing how my thought have changed.
The black belt test is currently close to 2 months in and I am feeling really excited about this journey. I have been training at RMF for about 12 years and I think that all of my training over the years is finally coming together and I'm looking forward to seeing how I continue to progress throughout this process. Earning my black belt is a culmination of all the work I have been putting in for the past 11 or so years. I felt like my training had come to a standstill for a little because I wasn’t going to be promoted anymore and I think that the black belt process has helped me become motivated again. Starting this process has given me even more motivation in class and I can definitely see improvement in my training during class. I am also excited to be able to train and grow together with the rest of the black belt team because I think it can also translate into regular class time. One thing I am nervous about is the duration of the test which is 5 hours because I’m concerned about being able to last the 5 hours. However, I know that by putting in the work over the 9 months I will be able to last the 5 hours and be able to perform well. I also think that it will serve as motivation to continue to put in the work to be able to withstand the duration of the test. Being a black belt is really important to me because a black belt has always been what I’ve been working towards throughout my training. While a black belt has always been an end goal I think it’s even more important than that because being a black belt is also about how you act and what your character is. Sensei always says “a black belt is a white belt that never quit” and I think that’s really important because it shows that a black belt is a kind of completion to training and can only be achieved through hard work and perseverance. I really hope that by the end of this journey I feel as though I have truly earned my black belt because I do not want to go through the process and feel unfulfilled at the end. I also hope to have a new respect for training and the process that I would have just completed. Overall I am very excited to have finally started this process and can’t wait to continue to work towards my black belt.
This past month in my black belt training has been focused on trying to set the habits in regard to my diet, martial arts training, and workout routine that will last and set me up for success in the rest of the year. The routine I want to set is to eat healthy, cutting out processed food, and sweets, and replacing it with more fruits and vegetables. In regards to my martial arts training, I am trying to train at least two times a week and with maximum effort and focus. Finally, I would like to set a workout routine that I do every night before going to bed. I have done these things with varying success, but recently, I have been much more consistent beginning to get into the desired habit. The biggest struggle for me has been snacking, I will frequently find myself hungry and wandering into the kitchen looking for something to eat, and frequently I will find myself making the wrong decision in what to eat, and I have to consciously remind myself to instead grab a fruit sometimes. Occasionally, I will still walk away with something I shouldn’t be eating, but I am trying to change that, and recently, I haven’t done that nearly as much. In terms of my training, I have not been able to train with the same frequency that I have in the past as I am trying to balance the school work in my Junior year of high school and some other personal factors with martial arts. In response to this, I am trying to put in the extra effort, when I am on the mat. Finally, I have been trying to get into the habit of working out almost every day. This can be difficult after school, homework, and on some days, teaching, but I think I have done a good job doing something almost every night. Throughout the course of the year I expect to ramp up the intensity of these workouts, but for now, I am trying get into the habit of doing a workout consistently.