Simply driving past a martial arts dojo was her inspiration. Though she was only four years old at the time, Aspen was certain she wanted to learn karate. She diligently continues to train; with the exception of taking a break for surgery and treatment of a brain tumor.
Now, at the age of 9, her passion and enthusiasm for karate stays strong. With that, no one doubted Aspen when she said her one true wish was to meet Sensei Kiyoshi Yamazaki. A trip to California to the Sensei’s dojo was arranged.
Not only did she get to meet her role model and his daughter, Sensei Mina, but she also trained with them. Aspen’s dad, whos favorite part of the trip was seeing Aspen train with the sensei, said, “I’ve never seen her work so hard. And she’ll tell you that herself.”
After the training session came Aspen’s favorite part. Sensei Yamazaki presented her with his second degree black belt.
“I couldn’t believe it! He worked so hard with this belt; it is all worn and has strings hanging on it. I wear it every time I go to karate, and I feel proud to wear Sensei’s belt," she said.
Though her wish day is over, she still talks about her wish come true. And with the belt as her memento, it is a time she will always treasure.
Karla M. Shemtov, Make-A-Wish® Orange County and the Inland Empire