My Black Belt

Typical Michael, and his buddy, Daniel.

Typical Michael, and his buddy, Daniel.

About a month ago, just a couple of weeks before he turned 11, Michael got his black belt in karate. He has been attending Forte’s American Karate since he was just 6 years old. After 4 1/2 years of hard work, he was given the opportunity to take the pre-tests, and to create a choreographed self-defense. Upon completion of those last few steps, he was ready to graduate.

These two black belts got some serious air while doing one of their forms.

These two black belts got some serious air while doing one of their forms.

By the day of the graduation ceremony, Michael was both excited and nervous. He knew he was ready, but was still nervous to have so many people watching him. He had me, my husband, his sister and two step-brothers, his dad and his friend, three sets of grandparents, his Godmother and Godfather,and their two kids, all there to watch/support him. His awesome 5th grade teacher also came to watch him graduate, as did many friends from the karate studio.

20160611_121325There were 6 graduates that day: Michael and his good friend, Ryan, who started right around the time he did, were both being promoted. There were two other boys, both from the Wyoming school also being promoted to Black Belt. One young man from the Wyoming, MN studio was getting his 3rd Degree, and Michael’s karate teacher, Mr. Hallberg, was getting promoted to 4th Degree Black Belt.

Michael sparring 2 opponents at one time.

Michael sparring 2 opponents at one time.

Graduation began with a display of self -defense techniques, and all the forms they had learned along the way. What’s really cool to me, is when all the prospective (1st degree) black belts do their bo form together.

After forms, all graduates demonstrated several of the kicks and punches they had learned over the years. The height and strength they all had were amazing! Finally, came the sparring. This, for me, has always been the most impressive part to watch. I think this was also true for those who had never been to a black belt graduation before. Typically, each graduate spars 4 or so different people. In their last sparring match, additional people are added after a short while. The higher level black belt they are going for, the more people they send in. Michael had 2 to spar at the same time at the end. It is a true test of endurance. He did pretty well.

This was just before they were going to get their black belts. You can see how exhausted they were!

This was just before they were going to get their black belts. You can see how exhausted they were!

His two sparring partners were both friends of his, and all three seemed to be having a great time, despite Michael’s exhaustion! Mr. Hallberg had to fight 4 at a time. That looked tough!!

Sparring wasn’t the end of the graduation ceremony… the final test, was to show just how bad they wanted it. They were all exhausted, but they still had 100 punches in a horse back stance (feet apart, knees bent), and 100 front kicks to go… you could really see the determination on their faces!

Michael, receiving his black belt.


Michael, receiving his black belt.

All the graduates were then asked to remove their belts. The bowed to the black belt panel, and were each given their belts. Ryan went first, then Michael. The two of them were only the 2nd and 3rd students from the White Bear Lake School to be promoted to the rank of black belt. Daniel was the first. All three boys started when the school was brand new, almost 5 years ago.

The last to be promoted that day, was Mr. Hallberg. Master Forte, owner of Forte’s American Karate, had been training Mr. Hallberg since he was 3 years old. You could see and hear the pride in his voice as he congratulated Mr. Hallberg, and gave him his belt.
Once the graduation ceremony was done, we took pictures of the new black belt with everyone who came, with the entire black belt panel, with his teachers, etc. Michael was worn out, but also very proud of his accomplishment (as he should have been).

Master Forte and Mr. Hallberg hug after Mr. Hallberg got his 4th degree black belt.

Master Forte and Mr. Hallberg hug after Mr. Hallberg got his 4th degree black belt.

We were all very proud of him! It was a great day!

The first three black belts from the White Bear Lake School of Fortes American Karate: Ryan, Michael, and Daniel.

The first three black belts from the White Bear Lake School of Fortes American Karate: Ryan, Michael, and Daniel.

 

 

 

 

Master Forte, and his black belts!

Master Forte, and his black belts!

 

Michael with all of his teachers that helped him get to this point: Mr. Munson, Master Forte, Mr. Hallberg, and Mr. Chapin.

Michael with all of his teachers that helped him get to this point: Mr. Munson, Master Forte, Mr. Hallberg, and Mr. Chapin.

 

 

 

 

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