On Tuesday, December 19th, Meaghan Arel set out to complete a major milestone in her martial arts career — she fought through and successfully completed a black belt test in the Therien Jiu-Jitsu Executive program. After the grueling exam that required plenty of energy, persistence, sweat and even some tears, we’re all extremely proud of her and her success as she was promoted to black belt! Along with the promotion comes the new title of “Sempai” which roughly translates to Junior Instructor or Senior Student.
Last Thursday, Meaghan officially received a diploma and belt certified by the World Kobudo Federation. During that time, Meaghan took the opportunity to tell us all about her journey to black belt and what it means to her:
I started my journey in 2005, when I was 5 years old. I use to watch my big brother do Jiu-Jitsu. I remembered I cried the first time that I was on the mat for a class. I was nervous and scared, but I didn’t give up. I used to do figure skating, but I quit so I could concentrate on Jiu-Jitsu. A couple of months later, I earned my brown belt. I changed program to the essential self-defense, it was a better fit for me. I felt less overwhelmed and frustrated without the throwing and the ground defense. It also helped my confidence. Even if I cried I didn’t give up. I also got to work with my mom. She’s awesome! Any test is hard, but the black belt test was the hardest so far. I’m so glad to have never quit. I would like to continue learning and helping others to get to their goals, as people helped me reach my goal. Thank you!
As part of the Black Belt promotion tradition at Therien Chesterville, Renshi Carol also put together a “Journey to Black Belt” write-up that describes all of the successes and challenges she’s had over her 12 year journey…
COURAGE is not the first thing that comes to mind when Meaghan entered the Chesterville dojo at the age of 5. Trying to follow her big brother Sean she started to cry. Her GOAL in the beginning was just to finish a class without crying out of fear and then I think it switched to being the student with the loudest ki. In the end the GOAL changed to finish the class without crying out of frustration and sometimes anger (though she still had the loudest ki). Meaghan had the SELF-DISCIPLINE to continue even though at times she felt the journey seemed like a lifetime. She had PERSISTENCE doing her techniques over and over. Her POSSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE sometimes was hard to come by when she got frustrated…but her attitude was renewed when she switched to the Executive Program for Meaghan this was the right choice. Meaghan had the INTEGRITY to not give up but continued on to finish the race to excellence. Kyoshi has always said that he would have Meaghan in his corner any day but when it comes to training Meaghan sometimes has a little problem with control…I am sure we have all felt Meaghan’s wrist locks, come- alongs, neck restraints and did I mention shin kicks. We can definitely say that when Meaghan trains she isn’t doing ballet or should I say figure skating since she quit that to pursue jiu-jitsu and give her 100%. Some students may never reach Excellence Black Belt but that is only because they don’t have a Black Belt Attitude . Meaghan has pursued Excellence and has achieved it. When we think about Jiu-Jitsu we think about self-defense with power and a loud ki. Well Meaghan you have done it! You have grown so much since your first day at the dojo.
You may at times still cry and get frustrated but now that really just brings out the defender in you and I am sure after seeing youtrain who really wouldn’t want you in their corner. We will always be pushing you 100% but that is because we know you can achieve EXCELLENCE!!
From all of us at Therien Jiu-Jitsu Chesterville, CONGRATULATIONS MEAGHAN!!!