Nabifar’s struggle in earning his black belt

3004b049-da7b-426f-b304-aa5521097285-DATbelt(April 2, 2013) — “Karate is like an art; you really need to have structure for it to work,” said sophomore Jonathan Nabifar as he described his experiences with karate. “There is a lot of depth in the technique and form of karate,” Nabifar said. Nabifar has been taking karate classes for 11 years and received the honorary title of “black belt” last year. He practices about 4-6 days every week at the Bejanian Brothers dojo in Glendale. He recently quit, but will pick back up on his hobby after he finishes high school.

Nabifar states that, aside from the usual karate techniques, the class teaches a wide range of other concepts and skills. “Besides the techniques that we learn, we are also taught to use certain weapons, like the nun chuck and bamboo staff,” Nabifar said. “We also do this technique called ‘kata’, which is a series of punches and kicks that, while showing of your karate skill, is mostly used to show off and look cool.”

He also practices roundhouse kicks and different stances for fighting. “One of the things that we’re taught in class is to be modest with our rank, which is difficult because of the harsh tests that you go through to receive a black belt, ” Nabifar said. Despite this, one of Nabifar’s favorite things about the class is that everyone is ranked.

“Even though we are taught to be humble,” Nabifar said, “we have rankings in the class; I really like that because it gives you a goal to pass.” “The most enjoyable part of the class, in my opinion, are the ring fights,” Nabifar said. The ring fights are tournament-like fights where students are paired up with other students of a similar rank and they compete against each other.

“You’re both in a small ring trying to get three points in order to win,” Nabifar said. “You get a point by either hitting the opponent’s head or stomach, or throwing them out of the ring.” He describes the experience as a fun way to test his skills. Nabifar thinks that the entire experience felt like one long journey. “Ever since I started, I’ve had the goal of earning my black belt,” Nabifar said.

“It wasn’t easy, though; we had to go through rigorous physical tests, like a three-mile run, and an examination of our current karate skill.” He states that, by the time he received his black belt, he was more relieved than ecstatic. “I was still very proud of myself and happy that I could reach that goal.”