Pawling Karate Celebrates New Black Belts

Five students from Pawling Karate recently attained the rank of Black Belt.

On June 14, five students of Pawling Karate achieved the rank of Black Belt while several instructors attained higher ranks of Black Belt. Sensei Alexis, the chief instructor and owner of Pawling Karate, was promoted to the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt. Sensei Ken was promoted to the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt. Dylan Fernandez, Ella Housen, Riley Housen, Michael Notaro, and Rosemary Notaro all earned their black belts at Pawling Karate. A black belt is a huge achievement and recognizes years of effort.

All five students have been training in martial arts for more than five years. Each one has managed to balance good grades in school, volunteering as members of Pawling Karate’s Leadership Team, and other sports and activities.

Dylan is a student of Dover High School, dedicated to his academic studies and compassion for others. His pursuit of knowledge fuels his martial arts training and motivates him to push himself. He also spent time on the dojo Leadership Team inspiring the next generation of martial artists.

Ella is a student of Pawling Middle School where she made Honor Roll through her efforts. She is a member of the dojo Leadership Team and motivates others through her perseverance. Outside of martial arts she is a Senior Girl Scout pursuing her Silver Award. She also loves to bake and runs cross country for the school team.

Riley is a student of Pawling High School where he balances his martial arts trading and other activities to make honor roll. He is currently working diligently to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. He also enjoys metal casting using his self-made foundry.

Michael is a student of Pawling Middle School, and is an avid baseball player, playing for recreational teams as well as travel teams. He not only balanced sports and activities with school, but has been a member of the karate school’s Leadership Team to volunteer his time and effort assisting others in their training.

Rosemary is a student of Pawling Middle School, and has been studying piano for many years, even participating in competitions to demonstrate her musical ability. Her school work always a priority, she manages to maintain good grades while training in martial arts. 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 the candidates 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 six rounds, starting with advanced level students and working their way up through to the instructors. The last fights, at which point they were drenched in sweat and exhausted, were against Sensei Al (1st degree black belt), Sensei Kevin (1st degree black belt), Sensei Brandon (1st degree black belt), Sensei Ken (2nd degree black belt), Sensei Ken (3rd degree black belt), Sensei Alexis (4th degree black belt), and Shihan David (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.”

Dylan, Ella, Riley, Michael, and Rosemary made it through the test and earned their black belts. Their families, teachers, and fellow students are extremely proud and inspired. A black belt is a white belt who never gave up!

Content provided by Pawling Karate.