River City Martial Arts graduates 54
ADKINS -- The testing applicants were lined up, parents were comfortably seated at tables decorated with Asian motifs, the mats were unrolled, flags unfurled, and Sensei Roland Torres, Mr. Rico, Mr. Michael -- a foreign exchange student from Bosnia, Ms. Cassie, and Ms. Danielle were all there to help judge the students looking forward to advancing to a new belt.
Students warmed up with 100 jumping jacks. Stretching followed this, and then they finished with some Chinese push-ups. Then, the real action began. A chorus of “Kia, Kia” was heard to punches, blocks, strikes, and kicks. Students then moved to grappling drills, covering different attacks, escapes and recovers, and sweeps from the guard. Those advancing to yellow belt were then peppered with questions covering everything from the Japanese numbers to “What is the definition of confidence?”
After those trying for their yellow belts were excused, the others proceeded to more advanced skills: chokes, sweeps, and mounts from the guard, etc. The numbers then dropped to three: Ryan and Beverly, who were testing for their blue belts; and Rayne, who was testing for his gray. Ryan and Beverly had to “run the gauntlet.” They battled one, two, three, four, and even five students at a time. They were pushed to their limit and then had to battle on. Rayne had “run the gauntlet” the year before and said, “I know what it felt like. I wasn’t going to take any cheap shots.” He had the honor of helping dole out a few punches and kicks, and then assisted in handing out the two, new blue belts.
All in all, after many red faces, much heavy breathing, and tons of dripping sweat, 30 students received their yellow belts, six received orange, 15 received green, two received blue, and one student received his gray.
The community is invited to go see these students in action at River City Martial Arts, located just down the street from Bill Miller’s on U.S. 87 and Loop 1604.