My black belt

Summary 
I have a black belt in karate. 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. I started karate when I was 13 years old. Some people with Down syndrome have a problem with their neck. Doing somersaults can be dangerous. It took a lot of practice to learn how to roll safely. I love karate so much. I wanted to keep going to earn my black belt. Now I want to be an instructor.
Posted by: 
Jamie Halliday on 07/02/2011
Jamie Halliday is kneeling alongside other people doing karate. He is wearing a blue karate suit with a black belt.
Jamie in action

Jamie Halliday: I was determined

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.

Important step

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.
 

Readers comments (4)

Congratulations on getting your black belt Jamie - what a huge achievement!! I have been thinking of taking up a martial arts discipline as I feel that it would be a wonderful experience and good for my body and mind ... I didn't know if I would be any good at it, but reading your story made me realise that I will be as good at it as I allow myself to be. I think it would be fantastic for you to pursue your dream to be an instructor, knowing how hard you worked to get there will allow others to realise what I have, that the only limitations are the ones we put on ourselves.

Go Jamie, Great piece, love to see more of your writing up on DiVine

There are no words to describe what an inspirational young man Jamie is!! Full of energy and determined to achieve!! An amazing friend... And the best brother I could ever have wished for!! You know your incredible!! Love sis.

I saw this very impressive young man at a grading in Melbourne last year.
One of the most inspirational things I have ever seen.
It's wonderful people like Jamie that make this style so great.
Keep up the good work, will definitely do one of your classes.

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