Junior Black Belt Promotions!

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During the 18 years I’ve been with Hanshi Kennedy, he has only promoted six or seven students to Junior Black Belt. For a student to achieve junior black belt in our organization he/she must be twelve years old and meet all the requirements for black belt, so many of these students who start at age five or six will train with us for seven to eight years before they are eligible for junior black belt.

There’s a maturity process that has to happen. The discipline and dedication needs to be there, and of course you have to look damn good. You have to not only “know” the material but must be able to “do” the material. After all, there is a difference between knowing and doing and these young men demonstrated just that.

This week at the hombu I watched Hanshi Kennedy run three tests, covering all ages and ranks. While all of the candidates did a good job, I wanted to talk about the last test of the evening that included two young men testing to Junior Black Belt. Not to take anything away from the others in this group testing to purple and brown belt, or the adults whose ages will go unwritten (older than I). The entire group looked great and made me proud to be a part of the dojo and part of their training!

These two young men, Corbin and Connor, have been training for six to seven years. I remember their yellow belt test, their first time sparring, and a lot of other firsts. I’ve witnessed their progression through the years and have really enjoyed watching them grow in the martial arts. What a joy it was to see them achieve this rank! Out of the millions of kids that enter a martial arts studio and never make it to black belt and the thousands that have entered ours alone, these two have shown their dedication and love for the art.

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And it can’t be done without their parents. How many parents, maybe even you, are willing to bring your child to a karate school day after day, week after week for seven years? To sit on the side, not interfering, trusting us to do what we do. Sometimes you had to drag them out of bed and sometimes you didn’t want to take them that day, but you managed. You managed to be consistent and bring them in for all these years. I congratulate you, mom and dad, as well.

Black Belt is not the end of the journey. There’s so much more to learn, to gain personally and physically. If you can see the difference like I have seen from when these students first walked in the door to this day, imagine what they will have accomplished seven years from now.

Karate is a life-long journey, never-ending and always improving your mind, spirit and body. What a great accomplishment.

Congratulations Corbin, Connor, their parents, and all the other students who tested! It’s not only an accomplishment for you, but a proud moment for the instructors who helped guide you.

Mike Colahan, Kyoshi

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