September 27, 2009

I finally got my LMA black belt

Saturday, Sept. 26th I tested for my black belt at Leadership Martial Arts. The test was a grueling 3+ hrs of drills, technique demonstration, live sparring and forms. Our head instructor, Sensei Derek Richardson, brought in a panel of martial artists to judge us. We had never met them and they didn't know us, so they were judging solely on what they saw from us that day.

My friend and training partner, Mark Blanco (who will be testing for his black belt sometime in the coming months most likely!) recorded the entire event and compressed over 3 hours into a short video with excellent graphics commentary and time-lapse for the repetitive parts (such as our ridiculously hard "warm up" excercises!). He was also kind enough to include slow motion clips of me getting beat up on by two of our highest ranking women at the school...two women you definitely don't want to mess with!

I started training in martial arts when I was 8 years old. I've studied various traditional styles from Okinawa, Japan, Korea, as well as techniques from many others styles and fighting methods for over 2 decades. Yet each time, I was never able to earn my black belt in any one of them because I would have to move (i.e. Dad's appointment to a new church, going to college, etc.).

I started training at LMA about 3 years ago and it was the first school that was genuinely a Mixed Martial Arts school. I had plenty of experience in the traditional martial arts, but was a complete noob in the areas of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Muay Thai. Looking back, I'm proud to say that I earned my first black belt at LMA and it truly represents, to me, the culmination of a goal set by a scrawny 8 year old growing up in Georgia.

Thank you first and foremost to my Sensei, and friend, Derek Richardson. And secondly, a HUGE thank you to all my training partners and friends at LMA (you know who you are...and I cherish the bruises from each and every one of you!). And to Houston and Logan, my fellow black belts who endured 3 hrs of pain, CONGRATS GUYS, WE SURVIVED! :)

Oh's the video:

Blessings from the Dojo,


Rich Tuttle said...

Awesome! Congratulations!

Tom Metcalf said...

A proud day for all of you and the LMA family.

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