Pawling Karate Celebrates New Black Belts!

On December 23rd Christian Forcelli, Ivan Zhang, and Dawn Alcera, students of Pawling Karate, earned levels of 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 for several years, and balance their martial arts training with school, jobs, sports, and family commitments.

Christian is a student at Brinckerhoff Elementary School. He started his martial arts journey in Dobbs Ferry, NY at Ryu Renshi-Dan Karate. When his family moved they sought out a school with the same style and he continued his training at Pawling Karate. Christian is a member of the Leadership Team and helps to teach beginner students. Outside of karate Christian enjoys baseball and music. Christian achieved the rank of Black Belt during this promotion test.

Ivan is a student at Pawling Middle School and a sport enthusiast playing on several teams through school. Wrestling, football, and karate have all put demands on his time. He not only balanced activities with school, he also joined the Leadership Team to volunteer his time and effort assisting others in their training. Ivan achieved the rank of Black Belt during this promotion test.

Dawn is a teacher in the Plesant Valley school district. She balances her martial arts training with work and her family. She pursues her goals and strives for excellence. Dawn achieved the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt during this promotion test.

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 Dawn, Christian, and Ivan 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 many rounds, starting with advanced level students and working their way up through to their instructors. The last fights, at which point they were drenched in sweat and exhausted, were against Sensei-Dai Jocelyn (Black Belt), Sensei Brandon (1st Degree Black Belt), Sensei Ken (2nd Degree Black Belt), Sensei Ken Sr. (2nd degree black belt), Sensei Cosmo (3rd degree black belt), and Sensei Alexis (3rd 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.”

Christian, Ivan, and Dawn made it through the test and earned their levels of 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.