Knight Times

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Knight Times

Knight Times

Gabrielle Bermeo’s Black Belt Achievement


Originating many centuries ago, martial arts serve many purposes besides physical health. They can improve focus, mental discipline, as well as leadership skills. Martial arts have a great impact on its practitioners as it helps them develop life skills and provides them with a way to release their stress and emotions. Since they can influence a person’s perspective of the world in all aspects, they are a rewarding sport that is practiced by many. After being enrolled in martial arts classes toward the end of her sixth grade, junior Gabrielle Reese Bermeo developed a passion for it, which led to her earning her first DAN Black Belt. As she stated, “In countless martial arts, colored belt systems are implemented to indicate a student’s proficiency and understanding of the techniques and principles of their martial art. Belt systems typically vary on numerous factors such as the specific martial art practiced and what gym or dojo you train in, but most often start with beginners receiving a white belt, and those highly proficient or advanced receiving a black belt.” As a person who has suffered from bullying in the past, she was glad to have built up her self-confidence, as well as her physical and mental health to stand up for herself due to martial arts. Although she initially did not want to practice martial arts, seeing advanced students practice techniques with strength and mastery inspired Reese to start her journey and work hard for her position today.

Reese has been practicing mixed martial arts for four years and soon realized it was her passion. Although training for her black belt was a stressful experience, it was a rewarding and satisfying moment for Reese to see all her hard work pay off. I had the opportunity to ask her when she recognized martial arts was her passion, to which she responded, “Three weeks before I was supposed to test for my Black Belt, I got into a huge car accident, causing me to sustain a concussion. After the concussion, I was not allowed by the doctor and my parents to participate in any sport, especially contact sports, for about two months. Not only could I not participate in martial arts entirely, but I couldn’t test for my black belt for another five months. When I was told this, I was honestly devastated. I felt held back and frozen. I have been religiously going to MX Martial Arts two to six days a week for the past four years, and not being able to participate in it at all felt like torture.”

When I asked Reese for a piece of advice she would give to someone preparing to obtain their black belt, she expressed, “I advise anyone that is preparing for their black belt not to stress and not undermine their capabilities. Half of the battle (sometimes even more than half) will always be mental, and handling the stress that arises with this occasion is part of that mental battle. For anyone having lapses in self-confidence or fear that they may not be able to earn their black belt, know that you are fully capable of achieving anything you set your mind to. Your efforts to get to any rank do not go unnoticed. You are fully capable of success, and you are prepared.” Reese has worked exceptionally hard to receive her black belt despite experiencing setbacks. Her current position is a result of her dedication and discipline, which inspires many to work hard toward their goal. Thank you, Reese, for being an influential figure to everyone at ACP! We could not be prouder of your milestone, and we are looking forward to witnessing your future achievements.


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