Dojo awards brown beltsPublished 11:05am Sunday, May 5, 2013
Imagine having to spar with not just one opponent, but several at a time. Imagine doing that, all the while being judged on your performance by 12 black-belted jurors.
That’s what two Washington Karate Academy students recently did to earn their brown belts. During the three hour exam, Blake Lee, 15, and Jazmin Vega, 12, illustrated katas (forms), both with weapons and without, demonstrated 17 different self-defense techniques, answered history questions and were tested on Japanese vocabulary.
Lee and Vega were tested in front of a panel of black belts, including ninth-degree black belt Shihan Mac Macaluso Sensei; third-degree black belts, Josh Chandler, Dave Barber and Ryan Waters; and first-degree black belts, Ji Paramore, Chad Alligood and Devon Van Cura.
“They had a little bit of the nervous jitters — that’s typically normal, since you’re standing in the middle of the floor and have 12 black belts staring from the chairs,” said Washington Karate Academy owner David Warren.
But that didn’t stop Lee and Vega from stepping up to the task, Warren said.
“I was very pleased,” he said. “They could answer all the questions that the black belts asked.”
According to Warren, the panel of black belts said it was the best brown belt exam in the history of the academy. Warren attributes that to the additional time Lee and Vega put into their studies — Lee began studying with Warren in 2008 and Vega, in 2010 — and his own continuous study toward becoming a better teacher.
“Each student should be better than the student who had tested before,” Warren said of the philosophy that a student’s abilities are a reflection of the teacher’s — a philosophy he learned from his teachers. “This was the best brown belt exam I have given since 1985.”
Warren said Vega and Lee were elated they passed their exams and the extra time spent studying stances, kicks, sparring, history and “kakushi waza,” (secret techniques), made the two martial arts students more prepared to be better brown belts.
“Time is always a factor for a pay off,” Warren said.