The Black Belt Club #1: Seven Wheels of Power Booktalk
Max can't believe it—he's been invited to join the Black Belt Club at Karate Kids World. Only the best students are invited, and even though he's trained for six years to get his black belt, he's sure he's not nearly as good as the other three members. Antonio never gives up or complains and he learns very fast. All his moves are as graceful as a dance. Maia is really smart, and can learn a karate move after seeing it done only once. But she picks on Max in class, and tries to get him in trouble. Jamie seems to understand the karate way of thinking more than anyone else.
During a special workshop just for the Black Belt Club, Sensei shows the four students the Box of the four Doors, that holds the memories of people from the four directions, north, south, east, and west. When one of the doors opens a hologram of a bearded man in a white turban appears. He is Sage, one of the protectors of the Tree of Life, which is the center of all of life in his world. It holds seven wheels which are the center of good energy. But the Death Master has stolen the wheels and hidden them. Dark energy is beginning to overcome Sage's world. Someone must find the wheels and return them to the Tree of Life or everything will be destroyed, both in Sage's world and in the real world as well.
Sensei has taught the Black Belt Club the Four Winds Kata, which will take them into Sage's world. They take no weapons with them, only their Animal Powers, the spirits of the animals that live within them. Maia is from Japan, and her animal is the crane, symbolizing good luck and balance. Antonio is from Brazil, and his animal is the bull, which symbolizes strong will and power. Jamie's spirit is the eagle, with its clear vision, in honor of her Navajo and Hopi ancestors. Max's ancestors are from Russia and his animal is a bear, symbolizing strength and courage.
The Four Winds Kata begins. The four karate students move together, kicking, whirling, punching and stepping, completely focused on the movements of the kata, and the magic of the dance swells. Then with a flash of light and a gust of wind, they vanish from the dojo and appear in Sage's world.
Their mission has begun.