“Of all the things that I’ve ever done, this was the most difficult thing to accomplish. All of my other athletic achievements came easily.” – Bernice Marshall, KMA Black Belt and College Softball Hall of Famer
On July 23, 2016, Kearny Martial Arts held a black belt test. As is our tradition, this Saturday started with students arriving at 9 AM to prepare for a long day of testing.
This test would be remembered for establishing new marks for the school. Kearny Martial Arts is a traditional Japanese dojo steeped in history, tradition and a culture forged around respect and commitment. Grandmaster Marchetti has always been regarded as a great teacher renowned for his love of and commitment to the martial arts. His lifelong commitment has passed down to his students as exemplified by one of the black belt candidates that day: Bernice Borris Marshall. Bernice is the first and only KMA student to earn a black belt without having ever missed a class. She has maintained perfect attendance for her entire 8+ years at Kearny Martial Arts. Her level of commitment has been a source of constant inspiration to her fellow students and instructors.
All of her training in Karate, Judo and Ju-Jitsu was called upon this Saturday. Bernice and her fellow candidates, Hower Calva (testing for Shodan) and two teenage candidates, Justin Rosa Pratts and David Navarro (both testing for Jr. Shodan) fought through nearly 65 fights each that day. The candidates battled their way through the adult and teenage students who had gathered at the dojo. Each candidate successfully demonstrated their proficiency in full contact Karate sparring (kumite), Judo (randori), and NeWaza (ground fighting). Their only opportunity to rest came during sessions where questions on Japanese culture and martial arts history were directed at them by the other students. Towards the end of the test and at the peak of their fatigue, each candidate was required to demonstrate their proficiency in Michi Budo Ryu, the style founded by Grandmaster Marchetti, which combines all of the arts into one fluid system.
After the test was over, Grandmaster Marchetti personally promoted the candidates. The post-test celebrations are a time of great pride where family and friends are welcomed into the dojo to congratulate each of our new black belts.
Grandmaster Marchetti also welcomed to this test an honored guest, Grandmaster Hector Rodriguez, who traveled all the way from Florida to be present. Grandmaster Rodriguez was able to share some of his techniques with our dojo, posed for photos with our students and signed autographs. Please enjoy some of the photos captured from this test.