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Rebekah Cornelius

     Through my journey of Martial Arts, I have learned confidence,

self-discipline, and honor.  I believe that I have learned these

attributes from the instructors that I have had over the course

of my martial arts journey.  So I have to thank Kick Start Kids

for introducing me to 4 amazing instructors that I have had the 

pleasure of learning from; Master Alice McCleary, Master Alberto

Borjas, Master Brandon McRae, and Master Dona` Pettway Sr.

     i officially started taking classes in January of 1998.  However,

I attended karate classes' months before then just to hang out.

You see, my best friend Patricia was in the final weeks for training

for her black belt.  To support her, i went to her classes, and this

is where I first met Master McCleary.  After that first class, I was 

always asking Patricia to teach me something, anything.  Of course,

she started off with Design Kata Form #1.  Master McCleary started

an adult class that following January, so I just had to sign up.  She

saw in me a desire to learn, and had many times taken me aside

to personally instruct me in the martial arts and in my personal

life.  She is someone I would like to mold myself after for all of her

qualities; strength, confidence, insight, and patience; especially

with me.  From her I learned confidence.  I'm no longer the shy little girl who was afraid to be myself instead of the person everyone else wanted me to be.

     Master McCleary was given a promotion and Master Borjas took over her classes.  At the time, I was in college dealing with the pressure of managing studying, working, and somehow make it to karate.  Master Borjas taught me self-discipline, which helped me juggle all these commitments.  I learned that you have to make time for the things you really want in life.  I also learned how to slow down and concentrate on one thing at a time.  Suddenly, certain events in my life came up that caused me to postpone karate for a couple of years.

     In 2001, my grandfather passed away.  He was and remains my bestfriend!  After his death, i was just going through the motions of just living.  Nothing mattered any more to me.  The following year, i started working at Patrick Henry Middle School, and if your wondering, yes, the entire staff thought Master McRae and I were brother and sister.  One of his students asked if I knew karate and I told him I knew a little.  In fact, I actually went through the same program that he was going through.  That student later told Master McRae, which lead to a discussion about who my instructors where, and why I was no longer training.  He told me about his after school class and said that I should check it out.  At the time I was dealing with the loss of my grandfather.  It was several weeks before I showed up for that first class.  I still didn't feel the passion for karate I had felt once before, but I kept going thanks to Master McRae's constant "I'll see you after school", I owe alot to Master McRae.  He has done more for me than I will ever know.  Through him I rediscovered the joy and desire that I once had for karate, but the most important thing he helped me find inner-strength.

     In 2008 I was given the opportunity to teach Martial Arts full time.  I was able to give back to the program that helped me find myself.  It was through teaching students that I wanted to better myself to give more to them.  That is when I started training with Master Pettway.  Through Master Pettway I have learned honor.  The honor of being part of the Martial Arts and what it means to help the next generation find their place in the legacy.

     My training in Martial Arts has changed my life completely, it's not just a sport or an activity that I go to twice a week.  It's how I live my life, and it has changed my attitude and how I think.  My life is more organized, and it has given me a future.  It has also helped me achieve things I would never have thought possible.  I am more confident, ambitious, determined, and focused than before, and I can only continue to grow stronger from here.  I know I would not have accomplished any of this if it weren't for these amazing instructors.

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