Mr. Smith gets the Second Degree


Mr. Smith, Second degree!

Mr. Smith tested for his second degree black belt yesterday and received it. He makes it look easy, the way he effortlessly moves through his forms. His kicks are high and solid. He broke through three sets of wooden boards, double stacked, like they were crackers. He makes it look easy.


The celebration afterwards—a Coopers imported from Australia

But it isn’t easy. He practices for hours at a time whenever he can, going through his movements a thousand times each so that he can perfect them.

He has a special stretching machine to help him get his kicks higher. He works on his balance. He watches what he puts in his body, carefully monitoring what he eats to keep himself healthy. He gives up a lot of time and energy to make getting his second degree look easy.

The harder he works and the more he sacrifices, the easier it looks.

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

Bruce Lee

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. Her latest novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit or
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