Dear Maya Snow,
This past winter, as a 7th grader, I was awarded with the great honor of being certified as a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I had worked my hardest for two years hoping to someday be the leader in class, stand first in formation, and earn the respect of a black belt. I fit Tae Kwon Do into my busy schedule by going to basketball (or whatever sport the season brings) and leaving directly from practice to go to Tae Kwon Do. Although that worked the previous year, my 8th grade year is different with longer practices and much more homework. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months as I didn't return to Tae Kwon Do, for I just couldn't find the time. I was then introduced to your book, Sisters of the Sword. As I read the book it caused me to think about my Tae Kwon Do institute I had seemed to have forgotten. As I continued to read, it motivated me more than ever to return. Sisters of the Sword opened my eyes to the world around me by showing me that martial arts in itself is not just attending practice after a long day of school, but is a life changing, life learning, and life protecting process. The world around us is a dangerous place, and although I do not have to wander around in fear of being attacked by a samurai soldier, I am surrounded by dangers of other forms. "Always be aware of your surroundings", is something I have always been taught in martial arts. Although these moments are few, I find myself thinking of Kimi and how to live life like her as if there were dangers around every turn.
I found Sisters of the Sword a difficult book to put down; my teachers were often reminding me to set the book aside. While reading Sisters of the Sword, I found many connections between Kimi and I. The Tae Kwon Do school I attend In Iowa is taught by the Grand Master of Iowa, 8th degree black Master Jou Jeun. As Kimi and Hana came upon the most famous dojo in Japan and Master Goku was introduced, I was instantly reminded of Master Jeun and my institute. The meditation Kimi and Hana practice has brought new meaning to the meditation we do in Tae Kwon Do. It taught me how it can clear your mind and give you power. The description of Kimi described her great strength and the power of releasing her energy and accomplishing her goal of cracking the old willow tree. This has inspired me to set goals of higher levels. It has shown me new ways of focusing and transferring greater power into breaking boards. While Kimi is fighting she seems to be behind a wall as if she is closing out the rest of the world to focus on every action and move of the enemy. My master often informs me of the fact that sparring is like dancing. Don't think too much and flow with the enemy, like dancing. I try to imagine myself in Kimi's mind and "dance" like Kimi would. So as you can see, the character Kimi in your book Sisters of the Sword was not just a girl written In ink on paper but has become a part of my life and inspired me to continue to be the great fighter I am, understand that the journey never ends, and know that I can do anything.