At a recent celebration at Aubree’s, four students from Master Lockman’s Black Belt Academy were awarded their first-degree black belt. Ranging in age from 9 to 15, these students performed an intense 2 ½ hour test demonstrating their knowledge to earn this distinction. Known in Korean as il dan, this black belt represents the culmination of three years of dedicated training and is the first major goal of a martial artist.
“I can’t imagine a more rewarding job,” says Brandon Lockman, owner of the Black Belt Academy. “I’ve seen these students come to their black belt test having accomplished all these great things. I know they’ll be able to utilize all they’ve learned in their future endeavors.”
Students promoted were Nathan Davis, Brock McIntyre, Colby Wallingford and Carrington Walter. A fifth student, Avni Rao, who could not attend the Aubree’s celebration, tested for and will be awarded her second-degree black belt (ee dan) at another time.
During their test, held at Lockman’s second Academy location in Belleville, students testing for their first-degree black belt performed 10 patterns, 20 speed drills, 5 defense rules, 5 air shield attacks and 15 close range defenses. Rao, testing for her second-degree belt, was also required to demonstrate all the techniques learned between il dan and ee dan.
Following the execution of these techniques, performed one after the other, students demonstrated their power with several board breaks. The most challenging of these is a four compass point break, where instructors hold boards at four points around the student and they must break each board with a different technique in quick succession. For example, 15-year-old McIntyre performed a back fist strike, a swing kick, a side kick and a front kick to break his boards. In a final power test, students chose to break boards or cement slabs with a technique of their choice. For McIntyre, it was a downward kick which shattered two cement slabs.
The black belt examination is long and tiring, in effect testing a students’ determination and endurance as well as their knowledge of martial arts. Globally, only about 3-5% of martial arts students continue on to receive their black belt, and these five students have been well-trained and are dedicated to their goal.
“[My job] is to help students through the challenging moments, moments when they were maybe thinking about quitting martial arts; to help them push through and learn about perseverance,” Lockman shared at the celebration.
With this promotion, Davis, McIntyre, Rao, Wallingford and Walter join the ranks of those who have persevered and accomplished a significant goal in the martial arts world.
Congratulations, or as they say at the Academy, pil sung!