I have a black belt in karate. I was determined to get it. I had problems learning some of the new moves. But I wanted to show everyone that I could do it, and I did.
I proved that my disability is no barrier. I am the first person with Down syndrome in Australia to have a black belt. I am also only the second in the world.
An important step towards my goal was earning a brown belt and getting second place in a sparring tournament in Bendigo. I will never forget that day being presented with a Bushido Cross. I am extremely proud of it.
I started karate when I was 13 years old. My dad thought it would be good for me. We lived in Bordertown in South Australia at the time.
Some people with Down syndrome have a problem with their neck. Doing somersaults can be dangerous. It took a lot of practice with my instructor to learn how to roll safely. I loved karate so much that I wanted to keep going to earn my black belt.
I want to achieve
After we moved to Ballarat I continued karate lessons. My instructor asked me why I was going for my black belt. My answer was simple.
I want to achieve as much as I can, I said.
Karate has helped me in many ways. It has helped my balance and co-ordination. It has given me confidence. I have also met many wonderful people and made good friends.
Karate has also given me a goal. I would like to be a karate instructor. To achieve this, I have to keep myself fit and focused. I also have to be positive about myself and be proud.