The "Other" Black Belt Requirements | AKKA Independence
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Mallory Snyder reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

I recommend AKKA Karate kenpo kids class in Independence! The instructors are knowledgeable. The classes are well planned and executed. Students are engaged and learning. It's a holistic program that teaches not only self defense, discipline, and self confidence, but other values such as cooperation and teamwork.

Heather Mingo reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

My son Malachi has been going to AKKA since the summer of 2015 and he absolutely loves it. I have seen such a change in him since he started. When I first brought him he struggled with paying attention and seemed hyper. He was a sore loser and would cry and throw tantrums when he would lose or not get his way. Now he is very attentive and respectful and has a place to let out a lot of his hyper energy. He has grown so confident and is proud when he wins, but can accept loss with out becoming angry or crying. What it has done for him physically is amazing too. I can see the muscles developing in his legs and abs. I can see his punches and kicks getting better and better. It also makes me feel safe knowing he is learning how to protect and defend himself in the dangerous world we live in. Mr. Burt is absolutely amazing with the kids. He Co-authored a book BullyProof and also teaches the kids how to react in bully situations which is so important because kids and teens will be facing these challenges at school and in real life. My daughter Makayla is four and just started going last week with her brother. She is just overjoyed. Everyday she keeps asking when class is next! If you are looking for the best martial arts school in Independence and the KC area this school is it hands down!!!! AKKA has been such a blessing to my family.
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Keri Perry reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

I love this place so much... Mr. Burt is a phenomenal teacher who is great with kids and adults alike. I’m a small woman who wanted to learn some self defense techniques... but as time goes on, I discover so much more about karate and it’s depths. This has turned my interest into a passion I deeply love. I’ve had the opportunity to attend many of the classes here... kick boxing, tai chi, karate... All of them are excellent and teachers always meet students exactly where they are, both mentally and physically. AKKA Independence is the perfect place for people of any age or gender who want to challenge themselves and grow.

Heather Kellam reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

We started Karate January 2018. My then 3 year old had a hard time staying still and had never been in any type of class before. Mr. Burt and his staff were very patient and understanding and worked closely to Damon to help him gain confidence. He even allows Helicopter mom's like me on the mat to help out when my kid seems to be straying. Damon turned 4 in April, and since January, I can see the changes in his behavior and attention.

Mr. Burt has a knack for making the class fun and interesting for the kids, respectful, and gives the kids opportunities to correct their mistakes. Kenpo Kids isn't just about the kids, however- As a parent, Mr. Burt and his teachings are making me a better parent. Being in Karate has been a positive change for both Damon and I, and I'm so thankful to have found this place.

Heather Egnor reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

Tom Burt is one of the only fitness kickboxing teachers that ever motivated me to move at 300 plus lbs. That's why we brought our son Jacob here to be motivated like I was. He absolutley loves it such great teachers. They teach respect disicpline focus and self defense. Jacob is high energy ADHD and this is first sport and school that has motivated him off the couch. Thank you Mr. Burt

Lindsey Alford reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

The instructors are amazing! My son is 4 and they keep his attention while still making class fun. Taking karate has already helped his self confidence, his stamina, and his strength. He is proud of his achievements in karate and loves to show off his moves. I highly recommend AKKA karate in Independence!

Amanda Warner reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

My 10 year old son has been learning karate here for almost two months. It has been great! He absolutely loves attending and refuses to miss his "karate days". I've seen the pride and smile on his face when he earns a new stripe on his belt and it is absolutely amazing to see!

However, and more importantly, I've been able to watch him fail at his stripe test. This was the moment that I dreaded. My son has ADHD and very little impulse control. My son does not take failure well. Failure for him usually comes with him yelling and angry, negative words towards himself and others around him. I watched him fail... and I waited with baited breath... I watched my son sit quietly back on the mat, put his head in his hands and MENTALLY work through it?!?!?! (A completely new direction for him) I then watched as his classmates gave him fist bumps and told him he did great and he would definitely pass with more practice, encouraging him! I watched as Mr. Burt came over to talk to him after class and encourage him. And then I watched as my son walked out, after class, smiling, saying he was "gonna practice and get better" so he could pass when he tried next time.

In two months I have watched my son make friends, have fun, learn patience and learn to mentally work through his frustration without lashing out at himself, or others. I have watched him take pride in his success and finally grasp the idea that failure isn't such a bad thing, but something he can use to strengthen himself.

Great Class! Great Teachers! Great Environment!

Samantha Weavers reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

In one year my daughter has grown so much. She started karate as something to do and stay active and now it is part of her. She has worked hard over this last year and has showed her dedication to learning more and more every week. It has shaped how she has grown over the last year not just in her practice on and off the mat but how she treats those around her especially at school. She has been the model student at school and is friends with everyone. On the mat I notice her looking around making sure everyone is understanding what they are supposed to do. At school she is on the Lighthouse team and is a leader to others and helps those she sees struggling. I am so happy that a little over a year ago I sent a message asking about karate classes for her I truly think it has been one of the best experiences for her.

Amelia Richards reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

Martial arts has an amazing part of my life. I began training when I was 10 years old and thought I was only starting a new "hobby" when I joined. As I grew older and began to appreciate my teachings, I learned many life skills and values such as teamwork, discipline, respect, and the importance of dedication to your studies both in and out of the dojo. AKKA has been so much more than just a workout class for me. Mr. Burt has been an important role model in my life, a father figure even, who has challenged me to become a better me, to never give up and to strive for excellence. I have met many amazing people and achieved things I never thought possible for myself. I would not be who I am today without my Kenpo family and appreciate all of their support during my journey to becoming a black belt.

Amanda Scarlett reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

We checked out this karate school as a trial to see if it would help my son focus better in school. It worked so well we have decided to sign up as a student mr. Burt and the other teachers make us feel at home. I am so thankful for all they have done for my son

Melinda Hawley reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

My 16 year old son, 11 year old son, and myself are loving taking karate as a family at AKKA!! Tom is a great teacher who is very good with all levels of students... he is very knowledgeable and makes it easy to understand what he expects... My boys were in karate classes when they were younger, but when their instructor left, my boys didn't enjoy karate anymore... Tom makes karate enjoyable and more about the art instead of the fight!! I highly recommend this karate school to anyone at any age!! #thefamilywhokicktogethersticktogether

Luis Ruben Miranda Vizcaino reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

The best place to learn and/or excel in all aspects of life (Mind, Body, and Heart). They work with you, care about you, connect with you, help you improve, the list goes on. Great environment, all inclusive, Mr Burt is an amazing instructor, and the benefits you gain never seem to end. I'm always excited to walk in the door and feel like the best version of me as I walk out.

Briana Pace reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

My son is 8 and has been at AKKA several months now. I have seen so many changes in him. I needed a keep busy sport for him to do, and he always wanted to do Karate. He is a natural at it. Mr. Burt is the best instructor and my son Trey looks up to him. He is great with the kids. My son had started to get an attitude that has completely gone away thanks to Mr. Burt and AKKA. I am forever grateful.

Jenisha Brock reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

The owner Mr Burt is awesome with the kids and had very important teaching methods that all the children understand. Mr Pierce and Mr Sherley are also instructors there and also very good with all the students. My granddaughter has been going since April. She's 6 and dedicated. Mr Burt is her mentor!! I love AKKA Karate so much, it inspired me to join class. I love it

Matt Keeton reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

I'm loving attending here. Until friends of mine convinced me to start attending because this dojo had trainers that were very aware of many different aspects necessary for martial arts, it had always been a "Bucket List" item for me. Now it's turning into a reality with a detailed plan in place that Mr. Burt goes over with you from the beginning. Can't say enough good things about it!

David Gulley reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

This class is great. I love that it places physical fitness as a must. Too often you find Dojos that just put you through the motions and do not teach you to be physically ready as well. I also like that we are able to learn at put own pase. There is no over bearing push to test for your next belt if YOU don't feel you are ready. And the instructors are all very open and ready to teach and work a little extra with you to help you succeed. And Mr. Burt, although he is very busy he will always make time for any of his students if they need him. Over all, I would recommend this school for anyone. They are the future of Karate training.

Nick Hubbard reviewed AKKA Independence
5
via Facebook

Awesome class very motivating and friendly atmosphere I love that they work on your physical strength along with teaching u the art of self defense. I just earned my gold belt and not only have I learned what was needed I've also learned alot about myself and what I can do.there is no judgment here if need help they will do what they can to see u be successful.

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The “Other” Black Belt Requirements

by Shannon Pearce

As we’ve all seen, the requirements for advancing to our next rank has been laid out quite nicely in the new manuals.  As Mr. Burt said, these have always been the requirements; we are now going to make sure they are all met before testing.  My mind has been going over these and I realized for me, this didn’t cover all of the requirements I should set for myself if I really want to get the most out of my training.

So, with that in mind, in no particular order are the other requirements I am going to place on myself:

Requirement #1:
I must completely devote and submit myself to the process.   This doesn’t mean I place all my focus on karate and ignore everything else in my life or become a mindless karate robot, I keep the balance.  What this means is I have a willingness to make sacrifices in other areas of my life to create the time necessary to reap the benefits the training can bring and I understand that all the requirements in place to advance rank are there for a reason.  I decided to look at the practice time I need and thought about some facts:
1.       The entire system of self-defense techniques can be run through 3rd Degree Black Belt in under one hour.  This can be accomplished running at a moderate pace, not really “cranking it out”.   By attending the Black Belt class on Saturday morning, I’m already doing this.
2.       The entire system of kata can be run through Long 6 (5th Degree Black Belt) in under 25 minutes.  Again, running at that moderate pace, not really going for broke.  And, by attending the advanced classes, I’m running all katas through The Tiger and The Crane twice per week, weapons katas once per week and 2nd/3rd Degree Black Belt katas once per week.

So, using these numbers, if I used the time I’m not in class to get some additional reps on techniques and kata, practiced hands on and worked on material I will be creating for 4th Degree Black Belt, I would only need about 1-2 hours per WEEK to train outside of class.  This is only 20 – 40 minutes per day, 3 days per week or less time per day if I spread it over 4 days.

I then looked at myself regarding submitting to the process.  For me, this simply means even if I don’t agree with a requirement, it is there for a reason and that reason has my best interests at heart.  Besides, if I train with meeting all requirements in mind, my feelings towards them will change over time once I see the benefits they bring me.

Requirement #2:
Each and every time I come to class and work towards earning the next belt rank, I should always be improving.  I should expect more of myself as I progress in my training.  By developing a practice habit and coming to class twice per week by devoting myself, this improvement should happen.  Again, it’s about the sacrifices that must be made and the willingness to make them.  Each progression of belt rank in the system should show that I am setting a goal of constant improvement.  I should be sitting lower in my horse stances than ever before, using my kiai, hitting harder every rep each and every time and always putting 100% into what I am doing.  My skill level at my current rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt should be much improved from what it was at 2nd Degree Black Belt and in turn, my skill level at 4th Degree Black Belt must be much improved from where I am today.  In other words, the higher the rank, the more I should expect from myself.

Requirement #3:
Changes in my Moral Conduct must be made to enhance and improve my training.  This is a tougher area to tackle because while it does include my first two requirements, it also involves what I do outside of the martial arts training.  I must have a willingness to make changes and sacrifices in my personal life.  This means changing my eating habits, exercising more, losing weight, get more sleep etc.  Whatever these may be, without making the changes, my training will suffer and my requirement of constant improvement will not happen.  This requires taking a long look at who I am and where I am in the training to make an honest assessment.  This isn’t always where I want to place my focus, but it is a necessary task.

Requirement #4:
I must be involved with the school.  When I began my training, I made a commitment and this should also reflect in the time I spend supporting the school.  I show support by attending tournaments regularly beyond the minimum that is required, coming to monthly belt exams and cheering on the candidates and helping out with functions within and outside the school.  I decided to take it a step further and become an instructor when the offer was made.  Again, I do keep the balance and don’t ignore everything else in life, but I felt this was a way to be involved as much as possible.  Tournaments at a minimum are a must for me to attend as this is a great tool for “sharpening the sword” and honing in the skill as a martial artist.  By both competing and working at tournaments, I have created a deeper appreciation for the art and how it is performed by others.  In addition, fund raisers like the car washes, parties and 1000 push up classes are great ways to for me to help and be supportive.

In closing, to sum this up, for me there is a huge difference in doing karate and being a martial artist.  In my mind, doing karate is coming to class twice per week, meeting the minimum requirements and nothing more.  Being a martial artist is about making the sacrifices and changes necessary to achieve constant improvement.   It is something I can do as long as the willingness to follow my other requirements exists.  Keep moving forward, never look back and remember:

“Your Attitude, not your Aptitude will ultimately determine your Altitude. “  (Bob Mowad)