Eighteen-year-old Hayden Majic had quite an end to the month, being named Mountainview High School dux, achieving a seido karate black belt and receiving the King’s Scout Award, all in the space of a couple of weeks.
Having started karate at the age of 7, Hayden has been training for the last 11 years at Temuka Seido Karate.
He attended grading at the Shibu Dojo of seido karate in Christchurch, passing successfully and receiving his Shodan (1st dan black belt).
Hayden said receiving his black belt was only the beginning of his karate journey.
"When I first joined there were a lot of people who came with me.
"I’m the only one who has made it this far. The journey was down to just me.
"It has been a lot of work. Some days I’m doing five hours of karate every afternoon and that’s been happening up to three times a week for months.
"Achieving a black belt is in a way a capstone of your learning and from there you can learn a lot more."
He said that for him, karate was more than just a physical activity.
"Karate is a home, it’s a family, a way of learning and a way of life.
"The people who are instructing you aren’t just teaching you something that you are going to just walk away and just know. The teaching follows through into a lot of life lessons.
"While karate is physical development and that’s part of it, it is stressed by a lot of people and the founder of karate, that karate is about development of the self.
"That’s what I love about it, and why I have seen it through to this point."
"Learning and being able to process what I’ve learnt and then apply that to the world around me is a big part of why I do everything I do.
"Dux was something that I put my mind to mid-way through NCEA. I wanted to go for dux because if I got it, that shows I’m able to apply myself to academics which is something I’m so passionate about."
He said the award was the culmination of a lot of different sacrifices.
"It was late nights, early mornings and all that time in school when others might be socialising or doing other commitments. I’m just knuckle down, head in a computer getting the work that needs to be done, done.
"So you have to take those hits, say to yourself that you are still proud despite it not being what they wanted and take the feedback you received into the next things you do."
Hayden also received confirmation that he was being awarded the King’s Scout Award.
The award is the highest youth award achievable in the scouting movement in the Commonwealth.
Hayden said to get the award he had to go through a lot of different progressions and badge work relating to the community, himself and adventure.
He said the work required for the award took about two years.
"It’s about seeing the work through with scouts and then helping the community. As a part of the award I had to get 50 hours of community service.
"The badge shows you have that dedication to the community, the dedication to making things better and that you can think in a constructive way about the world around you and face some of the issues we have."
With three major accomplishments under his belt he said it was hard to pick which one he was the most proud of.
"I try not to think of things in terms of what I am most and least proud of or what I like most or least like. I tend to think of things in what I like about this thing and what I like about that thing.
"I don’t want to make that comparison, because comparisons can leave a bad feeling."
Hayden plans to attend the University of Otago to study physics and philosophy.