Black Belt promotions were held at Rising Sun Martial Arts in Newport on Saturday, October 25th. Calla Baker of Newport, George Dube of Goshen, Amelia Gallup of Sunapee and Jett Larrimore of Lempster were recognized for their years of study and outstanding performances on their recent evaluations.
By international standard, one cannot be considered a full Black Belt until the age of sixteen. Junior Black Belt levels (denoted by a colored stripe running the length of the belt) allow younger students who have reached this level to continue progressing in the arts. Calla Baker, age 13, was awarded her 4th Level Junior Black Belt. Baker has been training since 2009 and has been both a Divisional and Double-Crown State Champion on the Twin State Martial Arts Association tournament circuit. She also holds 1st Level Black Belt in Kobudo (traditional weapons) and the teaching title of Sempai (Assistant Instructor).
When a Junior Black Belt reaches the age of sixteen, he or she is eligible to test for the equivalent level of Adult Black Belt. The level of adult grade that a student transitions to is based on their Junior Black Belt level, their total class hours and years of training, the curriculum material they have mastered, and their overall growth and maturity. Based on these criteria, George Dube was promoted to 3rd Level Black Belt. He has been training in karate since 2013 and is a Triple-Crown State Champion on the Twin State tournament circuit. He also holds 1st Level Black Belt in Kobudo (traditional weapons) and the teaching title of Sempai (Assistant Instructor).
Many consider Black Belt to be the pinnacle of martial arts achievement. In a traditional school, it is the beginning of a lifelong journey – everything before that is simply “getting ready.” There are ten levels, or “degrees”, of Black Belt. Having started karate in 2014, Jett Larrimore was promoted to 1st Level Black Belt.
The title of “Sensei” means “instructor.” To become a licensed karate instructor at Rising Sun Martial Arts, a student must complete a two-year teaching apprenticeship and a three-year assistantship. Amelia Gallup earned the title of Sensei in 2012. At the recent ceremony, she was promoted to the teaching grade of Renshi (Senior Instructor). Gallup, who has been training since 2002, is the first person to earn this title at Rising Sun Martial Arts. She has been a Twin State Champion twice and has competed across the US in such places as Pennsylvania, New Mexico and California. Gallup has been named a Competitor of the Year for 2018 by the International Karate Kobudo Federation.
Students testing for their first level of Black Belt are asked to write a Black Belt Essay, reflecting on their years of training. Jett Larrimore concluded his thus: “Rising Sun Martial Arts, and the study of Goju ryu Karate-do, has been an integral part of my journey into adulthood. In the half-decade I’ve been part of this community, I’ve made friends and matured as an individual. I’ve learned the true value of focus and respect, and I’ve gained confidence in myself and my capabilities. As a Black Belt, I am part of a centuries-old lineage. The knowledge of our discipline is passed down from teacher to student, with each progressive generation seeking to educate and encourage the next. It is my duty, and my honor, to join this line, so that one day I may be to a Kohai (younger student) what my instructors were to me.”