Students and distinguished guests gathered around on February 9th, 2008, for an event like no other at Kearny Martial Arts. Nearly forty adults and fifteen teenagers came together to put three top students to an unforgettable test. The reward – a black belt. The black belt is an honor, it is earned. At Kearny Martial Arts, we are proud to announce that Joe Pung, Martin Blazquez, and Ryan Mealy earned their black belts.
The test lasted four hours and resulted in 87 fights for each of the students named above. Within the 87 fights, each student fought three rounds within Karate, Judo, Ju Jitsu (both stand up and ground defense), as well as our style of Michi Budo Ryu – which is comprised of the above styles. Every student of the dojo was required to be present and participate. Just to inflict some punches, kicks, a few throws, and some take downs. For many this was the first time they had witnessed a “real” black belt test. I say “real” because I have seen other black belt tests in other styles of martial arts where the testee performs a few katas, demonstrates that he knows a few hand-techniques, and one or two fights with fully padded gear.
This test was nothing like that – in any way. The students at our test were not simply handed a black belt, they had to fight for it. In fact, they had to fight 87 times for it. Just when they began showing signs of fatigue, a new opponent fresh with adrenaline was put against them. And this was repeated for four hours. The test not only included the physical but also the mental. The students are required to keep their mind operating rationally during survival situations and to test this a series of questions about martial arts histories, language, and culture were asked.
The price for this black belt is nothing more than survival. There is no monetary value asked of for this black belt. It is an honor to receive and therefor an honor to present. The black belt is presented free of charge and the name is written in red. Red is not only the color represented by luck but it also signifies you gave blood for blood. Other schools write the name in gold because you pay with gold.There is no doubt that Martin, Joe, and Ryan, have what it takes to be a black belt in Michi Budo Ryu. To be standing after 87 fights and ready for more is the basis for respect and honor any day at our dojo.
Also in attendance, Chuck Wepner, the real “Rocky Balboa”, a member of our dojo and Grandmaster Gary Alexander honored the students by signing their black belt certificates. This black belt test is one of the few remaining, that pushes the students in a traditional manor testing their survival instinct, stamina, endurance, skill, ability, and above all heart.
“The toughest person you will ever fight will not be the strongest, nor the biggest person in the world. The toughest person you will ever fight is the person who keeps coming at you — the person who doesn’t give up.”
– Grandmaster Vincent Marchetti
Kearny Martial Arts is comprised of the best fighters and the greatest of people.