Kyra Gillette - Shodan-ho 2019
Karate Bio - Kyra Gillette
Karate has been a big part of my life. I’ve done it since I was in grade 2 which was 9 years ago already. A big part of karate made me become the person I am proud of today. Karate has brought many things into my life, it has brought me friends for life, it has brought me confidence, and to get outside my comfort zone by trying new things. For example, competing for the first time in tournaments when I was little, which ended up being something I loved! I used to be quite shy, but I feel as though over the years of being in karate and everyone feeling like a family, I became way more outgoing, and not as shy anymore. Through Karate I’ve learned perseverance, dedication, drive, hard work, how to win, how to lose, and lots about myself as a person.
What initially interested me in karate was the movie Karate Kid, with Jackie Chan and Jayden Smith, which was released in 2010. I watched it countless times, knew every single part of that movie and I would try and learn skills from watching it. I finally got put into my first karate class later that year. I was so excited, and it was a big deal for me as I was so passionate about what I was doing. I looked up to everyone around me and learned so much from everyone. When I started getting into tournaments and competing, I knew that this was something I wanted to be very good at, I wanted to win. I would train in class, at home, and work very hard to achieve my goals. Competing didn't always go as I hoped, I messed up and would break down because of the pressure I would put on myself. That is something I still have to continue to work on today. I need to remember that what I’m doing is what I love, and that I have to trust in my training and hope it was enough, because there's nothing further I can do for myself the day of competition or grading for my next belt. I’ve learned to keep a calm mind and trust in myself. That even goes for outside of Karate, like writing academic tests, or race day at the track. If I lost and things didn't go well it was tough, but I had to walk away knowing I did my best and needed to train more and maybe a bit differently for next time. I was never allowed to walk away from anything I did thinking I could have done better, or that I could have pushed myself harder, because that’s really the worst feeling.
Over the years, I’ve competed many times in lots of different tournaments including BC Provincials and Canada Opens for four years. I’ve won 9 gold medals, 3 silver and 12 bronze medals. In 2017, I went to the IKGA World Championships for karate winning a bronze medal for team Canada in sparring!
I’ve always had one goal that I’ve wanted ever since I started Karate and that was to get my black belt. It has taken me an amazing 8 years of loving what I did, and working very hard. I finally achieved my black belt the summer of 2019, which brought me to tears!
These past 4 years, I’ve also been working very hard in both Club and High School Track and Cross Country running, with a focus on middle and long distance training. I’ve made it to BC Provincials 4 years in a row for Cross Country and 3 years for track, with the next season of track starting soon and feeling my strongest yet! In 2019, I raced at Canada Nationals in Cross Country for the first time, which was an intense, but amazing experience.
I now train 5 days a week with a very intense training schedule by our NTFC (Track Club) from my coach. Sometimes we get up to an average of 90 kilometers of running a week. I love running very much, even though it sucks sometimes because it's sooo tough, but that's also a really big reason why I love it. I learn so much about myself and try to push myself as hard as I can. My favourite track races are 1500m 3000m and 3km Steeplechase. I recently raced for the second time at the University of Washington in the 3000m where I beat my old time by a 45 second personal best at 10:45! In Cross Country, our Junior girls team won BC Provincials in 2017 scoring the lowest points overall! In 2019, our Senior girls team came second in the Province! I’m currently working really hard to get a scholarship to University for Track, where I would love to study sports psychology and health, as well as business studies.
I would like to give a huge THANK YOU to Sensei and everyone who has taught me and been a mentor to me in karate, and to my parents for putting me into it because of how much I wanted to be a part of this lifestyle. For me, karate wasn't just something to learn to get my black belt, it was so much more than that, it was my whole world for the longest time, it was and still is my family. It was a huge foundation of my life and with all the knowledge and things I’ve learned about myself it has been a big part of what got me to where I am today, and the person I am proud to be.
Kyra Gillette, 2019