Pawling Karate Celebrates New Black Belts!

On April 12th Jocelyn and Zane Eldleman and Kate Hennigan, students of Pawling Middle School, earned their black belts at Pawling Karate. A black belt is a huge achievement and recognizes years of effort. Pawling Karate students train in the art of Ryu Renshi-Dan karate, which is a mix of traditional styles and modern self-defense techniques.

All three students have been training in martial arts since they were young. Each managing to balance good grades in school, volunteering as members of Pawling Karate’s Leadership Team, and other sports and activities.

Jocelyn is a high honor roll student extremely dedicated to her academic studies. She also played soccer and competes annually in the “Battle of the Books”. Her pursuit of knowledge fuels her martial arts training and motivates her to work with younger students to further the next generation of martial arts athlete’s training.

Zane is an excellent student and sports enthusiast playing on several teams throughout his sports history. Lacrosse, soccer, and karate have all put demands on his time. He not only balanced activities with school but joined his sister on the Leadership Team to volunteer his time and effort assisting others in their training.

Kate excels in school while managing to further her musical education in piano, as well as pursue sports outside of karate. Her intensity is visible in everything she chooses to apply herself to. She also sought to motivate younger students and inspire others via the Leadership Team.

The black belt test at Pawling Karate involved intensive cardio exercises while the candidates had to protect themselves from a barrage of attacks. A selection of katas (traditional karate forms) were performed with Jocelyn, Zane, and Kate leading the group of intermediate and advanced level students.

The test was concluded with sparring, which is controlled contact fighting with protective gear. Each candidate had to go 9 rounds, starting with advanced level students and working their way up through to his instructors. The last fights, at which point they were drenched in sweat and exhausted, were against Sensei Ken, a 2nd-degree black belt, Sensei Cosmo, a 2nd-degree black belt, and Shihan David, a 6th-degree black belt.

Sensei Alexis, the chief instructor at Pawling Karate, said, “Testing for a black belt pushes you to the point where you have nothing left, you’re tired, and the average person would give up. But the average person doesn’t get their black belt. It takes tremendous spirit to get to that point and push through. To be that tired and sore, but keep your hands up and fight back. That’s what we’re looking for. That’s a black belt.”

Jocelyn, Zane, and Kate made it through the test and earned their black belt. Their families, teachers, and fellow students are extremely proud and inspired. A black belt is a white belt who never gave up!

Pawling Karate is located on Charles Colman Blvd in Pawling NY. They offer classes in traditional martial arts for children as young as 3 all the way to teen and adult programs. www.pawlingkarate.com