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HomeHealth & FitnessJourney to Black Belt: Sara Owens

Journey to Black Belt: Sara Owens

On Sunday, April 14, Sara Owens completed her adult black belt test. For 15 year old Owens, this was the culmination of nine years of hard work. The test consisted of drills on all basic ka­rate skills, including combinations, reaction drills, power and con­trol drills, 10 forms, one weapon form, and 24 one-step counter techniques. Owens also had to create six of her own one-step counter techniques, and six self-defense techniques. She had to pass an oral test where “each tester asked [her] to explain any technique [she] had demonstrated,” according to Sensei Gerry Cheney. Owens also wrote a one-page paper explaining how “what [she] learned applied to everyday life.” The last part of the test was sparring, including a number of continual matches, one point fighting match with a fourth degree black belt, and a two-on-one match.

“I’m a high school student who loves martial arts and draw­ing,” Sara Owens said. “I’m always hungry for knowledge and eager to explore. I love hanging out with friends and sharing ideas.” The ninth grad­er began karate at six years old. “My jour­ney in karate started at a young age and it has be­came a part of my life since then. It took me nine years to get here where I’m at, my adult black belt. It was all fun the first few years as a little kid, then it became serious as the years went by with a goal set in mind, that black belt. There were some setbacks, COVID times in particular that affected our classes greatly.

“I eventually changed schools and relearned because of the off pe­riod during the pan­demic. I have the best teacher and have made new friends. We’re creating memories that will last a lifetime.”

Sara Owens’ main weapons for karate are her bow staff, her bare fists, and kicks. “The adult black belt was more intense and exhausting than the youth black belt. It is important that you have focus and en­durance. Having said those, I can’t say I didn’t have fun.”

Gerry Cheney said of the adult black belt test, “For our style, we consider our first black belt test an endurance test! We push them to the point of exhaustion so we can see what they are made of when they are completely spent! Both [Sara and anoth­er candidate who test­ed with her] passed with flying colors. We had four different schools represent­ed by their teachers testing them and they all were greatly im­pressed with their skill level, especially at such a young age!”

“Karate grew on me over the years, and I enjoy the people I train with,” Sara Ow­ens concluded. “I like the intensity of it. We learned not just mar­tial arts, but the virtue that comes with it, discipline.”

Congratulations, Sara, on your achievement! As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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