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2012 Mental Karate Jigna Winner

by Mawi on June 29, 2012

Every year, Mental Karate gives the Jigna Award to a Black Belt who has inspired us and his classmates.   Jigna is an Ethiopian word referring to a heroic warrior.

Last year’s Jigna hailed from a small town in Wisconsin – this year, our winner is Cody Cook, all the way from Waimea, Hawaii.  I had the pleasure of visiting Cody’s school and meeting him. Here is his essay:

Cody at Waimea Middle School

On my Mental Karate Journey, I have learned to be a true Jigna. Earning my White, Yellow, Green, Blue and Black belts has made me who I am today. I know that I’m a small person on this gigantic planet. Even though my actions are small, to help the community, and myself all the actions I took made one giant impact on the world. That’s what drove me to press my turbo button and become a true Jigna.

To jumpstart my Mental Karate journey, it started with White Belt. I took the initiative and benefited my classmates as well as myself. First off, I wanted to practice my free throws so I could benefit the upcoming basketball team for my school. So before and after school, I would practice before all my friends came and stole the ball from me. Although, I still got better. But there were some challenges that got the best of me. But that is one of the main points in Mental Karate, pushing through obstacles that get in our way to reach our goals. Another goal for my Whit Belt was isolating myself and doing one hour and 30 minutes of ALEKS. ALEKS is a math-tutoring program that gives kids that extra boost that they need in math. So after all the math problems I did over that period of time, it put me as one of the highest ranking grades in my class. All I needed to do was work hard so I could succeed.

After all that was through, I started my yellow belt. I contributed to various people. I contributed to my entire family by making my family a gourmet Italian dinner. I felt like I could contribute to my family whenever help is needed. Another contribution I made was to my friend Max. Now Max doesn’t get picked a lot to play on a basketball team at recess. It is probably because Max is very short. There is nothing wrong with being short. There are plenty of short basketball players that can do amazing things. Take for example, professional basketball player, Spud Web. He is shorter than me (and I’m almost six feet) and he can dunk. Spud and Max have similar qualities, that being the shortest ones in their league. After I picked Max, he was quick on his feet and made a few shots. Now THAT was surprising.

To help my community, my classmates and myself went down to the Hele-on Bus stop to pick up garbage so the people that wait for the bus could have a cleaner environment to be in. To help with the world contribution, my classmates and myself raised money for Tank the dog. Tank is a puppy that was in Afghanistan being taken care of by a soldier who wanted to bring her back to the U.S. So together my class raised over 400 dollars for Tank by doing a bake sale to help the “Puppy Rescue Mission.” Now, Tank is living in a safe environment in the United States with her soldier. All these goals got larger and made me so proud of myself.

Finishing my Yellow Belt and now striving for my Green Belt, I disciplined myself to shoot free throws every day so I could improve myself even more before basketball starts. After this, my other shots like lay ups and 3-pointers got better as well. Disciplining myself has made me a better basketball player. I’m glad I disciplined myself to do better than I was before.

Once I finished my Green Belt, I began my Blue Belt: Courage.  My first courageous act was to clean my attic of all the rats and spiders. Those rats were huge. There had to be at least six rats and 500 spiders. That took some nerve. For my second goal I wanted to be a more aggressive player to benefit my team on another level. So I asked my coach, “how can I be an aggressive player?” She gave the best (but most criticizing ever) advice ever. She said, “You can’t, you’re too nice.”

That took some courage but I couldn’t ask for better advice. Going through this was that hardest belt ever, but it made me stronger. So I’m proud of it.

On to the Black Belt. The Black Belt was one of the hardest belts. There were ups and downs to it. The upside is knowing to do all the right things, which is pretty easy since I’m a model student. The down side was trying to be more respectful to my sister. She can be a real smart “butt.” But there are times I thought of cunning comebacks but I kept my mouth shut to ensure a better relationship with my sister. This was a real challenge but it was worth the effort and I realized that having an awareness of my positive and negative mindsets is a very valuable thing to have in my life.

Mental Karate was one of the hardest adventures I have ever taken. But it made me a Jigna.

Thank you, Cody!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Steve Ritter June 29, 2012 at 7:41 am

Reading the story of Cody’s journey through the demands and challenges of his Mental Karate program is inspirational. He teaches a life lesson about transformation. No doubt, his continued growth and evolution will be shaped by his Mental Karate experience. He’s no longer “a small person on this gigantic planet.” Cody is a role model and a catalyst.

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