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Students from Liberty and Pittsboro awarded black belt ranks

Posted Saturday, May 14, 2011

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Siler City, NC - Lucy Williams of Liberty was awarded a black belt and two other martial artists received higher black belt ranks when South Eastern Karate Association held its most recent promotion exams.

Belts and certificates were presented by Master Instructor Peggy Jolly, a seventh-degree black belt, or Seventh Dan, who has been teaching martial arts in Siler City for almost three decades.

Williams, awarded the rank of First Dan, began training more than four years ago after seeing a karate tournament on the news and wanting to learn to do what she was watching. Not only did she learn many of the techniques, but she also developed a sense of persistence that applies to life beyond the art.

"You have to be willing to stick with something and not just give up when you feel like it," says the 16-year-old black belt. "It takes sweat, persistence and the will to do something over time. You can't drop it and you can't slack off when you don't feel like showing up."

That was important when Williams broke her arm soon after beginning her training. She was out for two months and didn't want to return. But she did - and is happy with the decision.

It also was important while learning women's self-defense techniques, something she didn't like at first. Again, her perspective changed. "Now, I think it's the thing I do best," she says, "I will just throw myself in there and go at them!"

David Scotton, 47, received the rank of Second Dan. He started training with his son about eight years ago and still enjoys the physical exercise and health benefits.

He particularly enjoys practicing forms - choreographed patterns of techniques used in training - because there are so many fine details needed to execute each one properly. Whether it was through forms or other elements of training, the Liberty resident gained an appreciation for mental exercise as well.

"I have started to learn how hard it can be to control your body and your mind at the same time," he says. "Training in karate helps you to stay calm and control your emotions while your body does what is necessary for self defense."

Tristan Bland of Pittsboro was awarded the rank of Second Dan Junior, a designation used for younger students. Over the last two years, the 11-year-old discovered that once you earn a black belt, expectations increase.

He works on his stamina by running around his yard every afternoon and has become even more determined to improve during every class session - working, for example, on the same details in forms that Scotton also enjoys.

Those details take a long time to learn, he says, but they're important because you never know when someone might attack you.

Master Jolly is encouraged when students begin to understand why things like working on details and developing self-discipline are so important in training.

"That's something we stress to students and parents," she explains. "A lot of times, people don't understand some of the rules we have. They may see them as just tradition or something that's not as important as learning a kick or a punch.

"But our students are learning to control their minds and their bodies, and they're learning to respect other people and themselves. In self-defense, those can be just as important."

Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Siler City - with a class primarily for children from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and another class primarily for adults from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Liberty classes are Mondays and Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Details are available at

South Eastern Karate Association has taught Korean martial arts in central North Carolina since 1982 to men and women from 5-years-old to well past retirement age. Schools in Siler City and Liberty feature instruction in self-defense and emphasize confidence, physical fitness and self-discipline.

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Students from Liberty and Pittsboro awarded black belt ranks

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