In October of 2019, junior Jaycie Lavin earned her third degree black belt in American Karate. Although a huge accomplishment on its own, martial arts means much more to Lavin than rankings or material accomplishments. This is evident in the many hours that she spends practicing. Lavin is extremely advanced for her age group, and that is all thanks to her dedication and love for the sport.

“I’m in the adult class, which means I have three classes a week. I’m also a volunteer instructor on Tuesdays and Saturdays, so that would add six more classes [to my schedule],” Lavin explained. “I practice for approximately 460 minutes a week, and that’s just on the mat.”

In addition to American Karate, Lavin also practices Cane Jitsu and Filipino Martial Arts. However, those two don’t have any sort of ranking system. She decided to start taking several classes and various forms of self-defense because she saw how enjoyable they could be.

“I started martial arts in third grade after I noticed how much fun my brother was having in class,” Lavin said. “At the time, I also wanted to be like Danny from Karate Kid.”

Similarly to Danny, Lavin learned more than just how to defend herself because of the sport. Beyond executing rising kicks, flow drills, and wrist, elbow, and shoulder rotations, she grew in self-assurance and assertiveness.

“Martial arts has made me more confident in things like presenting and speaking to other people in general,” Lavin said. “Karate has also made me stronger both mentally and physically.”

Lavin firmly believes that self-defense is a valuable skill for anyone, specifically females such as herself.

“Self-defense is important for everyone to learn. I know that women do tend to become targets for things like sexual assault more often than men (one in five women and one in seventy-one men), so I do believe that it’s especially important for women to know at least a little bit of self defense,” Lavin explained.

It took the martial artist many years to be able to earn such a high ranking, and that is something she revels in.

“Earning my third degree black belt was amazing,” Lavin shared. “Getting to this point took me seven years, so I definitely take pride in it.”

Congratulations to Jaycie Lavin for her huge accomplishment in proving herself as a “sandan” in American Karate. She is an example of what it means to be a strong, hard-working woman and proof that martial arts has the power to transform people not only physically, but also mentally.

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