A martial arts grading ceremony held in South Surrey last month including a little bit more than the usual board-breaking demonstrations and the handing out of new belts.
It also included an emotional speech from one of the Seikido Martial Arts Federation’s most accomplished young members.
The event – which was held Nov. 16 at Elgin Park Secondary – was capped by Kaitlyn Wilson-Kurenoff, who was promoted to black belt, and afterward spoke to the assembled crowd about what Seikido has meant for her in her life.
“For me, Seikido is so much more than a place where I train,” said Wilson-Kurenoff, who is a Semiahmoo Secondary student.
“Seikido is a place where I feel like I have a purpose and a place where I am loved… it’s a place of growth, self-improvement and developing confidence.
“Seikido is my happy place.”
Seikido blends “the best of practical hard and soft styles” of martial arts, and includes sparring, rolls, breakfalls and board-breaking.
Discussing her new black belt, Wilson-Kurenoff said it was “so much more” than simply an athletic achievement.
“I couldn’t tell you how many times I have dreamed of being where I am standing today… but being able to get to a black belt isn’t just about dreaming, it is about doing,” she said.
“It’s about those days where you have too much homework, your body’s aching from the day before, and you just don’t feel 100 per cent, but you pull through and go, not just for yourself but for others too.
“It’s days like this that truly test your strength and I feel that achieving my black belt shows that strength and that perseverance that I have learned to develop within myself.”
In addition to Wilson-Kurenoff’s black belt, a number of other South Surrey/White Rock competitors earned colour upgrades. Lucia Chang earned her brown belt; Julia Li, Lucas Chai, Michael Xiao and Robin Xiao were awarded blue belts; green belts went to Alex Korshynsky, Connor Riva, Gursukhmani Basra, Hazel Bartlett-Sias, Kallen Wandt, Keefer Wandt, Pearlie Zhao and Soren Stoppa; orange belts went to Daniel Li, Kabrian Riva and Keira Linklater; and a number of members had their belts upgraded to yellow – Ace Lou, Alexia Vernon, Atticus Graham, Claire Zhao, Harper Ji, Joey Breslaw, Jordyn Hildebrand, Julian Groberman, Justin Wei, Lawrence Chen, Lincold Dhaliwal, Louie Zhao, Lylah Skujins, Maddox Buckland, Mason Frith, Max Chen, Miles Ling, Orlando Long, Saavin Bilin and Wyatt Walker.
For more information, visit www.seikidofederation.com