Historic black belt weapons awards

weapoonsgroupThe last promotion for black belt in kobudo or weapons was made in 2007 at the PMA. On January 9th six new black belt awards were made. Earning a degree in weapons is usually done by a small minority of the black belts. It takes specialized training and mastery in three or more weapons areas such as the bo, the bokken, hanbo, sword, and more. This moment is a great historic accomplishment and indicates the depth and dedication of students to study long years to reach a new goal.

Current active dan holders are Michael Brown Sensei (4th dan), Eric Rosado Sensei (2nd dan) and Becky Black Sensei (2nd) dan and recently awarded, and of course head instructor Master Devine. The new first dan holders are Peggy Teng, Marc Adams, Yuri Gorokhov, Andrew Vaughn, Peter Grootenhuis and Seth Brown. The study of weapons in the PMA is quite distinct and although in the general classes we do teach the short stick hanbo and long staff bo, generally separate classes are held for the other weapons. At the current time students must hold a black belt in open hand karate in order to advance to black belt in weapons study. Everyone on the list has at least thirteen years in karate studies. Seth Brown is the youngest at seventeen years to earn this rank in weapons.

The ceremony to give out the awards was held at Island Palms Resort on Shelter Island Sunday January 17th. Each candidate picked a special friend or family members to award the certificate in conjunction with Master Devine. This award concept is to let the friends and families know we appreciate their large supportive role in the progress of the students.

The ceremony featured a short dedication of karate to the new awardees by some junior members that included Sarah Brown, Ian deGrood, Ethan and Brandon Diep, Isaiah Brown, and Emma Rose Denton. The Polynesian buffet was outstanding.

It’s 2016 for you Polar Bears!

Pacific  Martial Arts always starts the new year with a Polar Bear class and this one was at Coronado. Hardly polar since the thermometer hit almost 70 degrees under sunny skies. The class was traditional stance and kicking drills on the grass of Sunset Park, with partner drills of the Kata Garuma series. About 35 students and 30 parents showed up for the event which was followed by pot luck. We played the emperor game with foam combat swords  where teams defend their royal leader against the attackers. Then we all trooped down to water’s edge where groups braved the cold water up to waist level to do punches, kicks and kata. The finale was doing push ups in the water.

Master Devine spoke briefly to the students about the need to strive for excellence rather than just ‘good’ or ‘average.’ Since we often fall short of our goals, it is better to shoot for excellence or more in every training session, because when we fall a little short under stress, at least we will be good to excellent in all we do.  It was a great day for karate. Happy New Year.

(The pictures tell most of the story, can you find your self in these?)