During the Black Belt Retreat, I honestly wasn't really thinking about Martial Arts at all. That's not entirely true; I was thinking about the fact that we all own clothes outside of our uniforms. I had been worried about making a five minute obstacle course into a 35-minute one, and having a good time regardless the quality of the obstacles themselves. Now, looking back on my “act" with critical eyes in martial arts mode made me start thinking how I used what I know during it. For instance, I was given good balance, and at one point on the far edge with the balance beam, I almost fell, so I dropped down into a sort-of half stance to lower my center gravity and gain more balance. Thankfully, this worked, and no people fell. As I was climbing the Staircase to Nowhere, I
noticed the stairs started swinging side to side with each step. So I applied Economy of Movement and rotated it into a back to front motion. This made climbing easier, as the step swung me forward to the next just in time for me to place my foot on the next one. In waiting for traffic to dissipate, I practiced patience (and being polite). When I went on the ropes with the mesh nets to the right, Ineeded hand-eye synchronization, as gained in sparring. Whatever was used, I thoroughly enjoyed that retreat.
- PB, Jr. Black Belt Candidate, 13 Years Old
I believe that my Martial Arts skills contributed [during the Black Belt Retreat] in the form of balance. Practicing balance in class help because there were a couple of obstacles that required me to walk along on erope or one beam. Being a "crane" is awesome. I couldn't think of a mental way that Martial Arts helped me until I thought of the obstacles I didn't want to do. Some I thought would be difficult but then I persevered. [In conclusion,] perseverance helped me as well as balance.
- RD, Jr. Black Belt Candidate, 14 Years Old
A lot of the skills I used for the retreat were mental, which surprised me a little. But [on] the physical ones I did use strength and balance. The muscles I used to do the more tricky obstacles came from the exercises we do in class, and it was cool to see how my muscles could carry me. The balance, I feel, came from kata [training]. An example would be learning how to shift my weight from foot to foot, or having to hold a stance until I got my hands in the correct [place]. The mental abilities can in a lot more when I was scared to try something new. But when I was scared I thought about sparring, and how an opponent might be tough, but you just have to keep moving. If you keep moving it's easy to use the perseverance that I learned to carry my through.
- NB, Black Belt Candidate, 17 Years Old