Personal self-defense is important, especially when it comes to protecting yourself and your family. And short of carrying an armed weapon, being skilled at hand-to-hand combat may be the next thing.
And one way to become skilled in close-range fighting is to study the martial arts.
“It’s not easy to get a black belt in karate - physically, mentally and spiritually it’s very hard,” said Sensei Tim Thompson, a Virginia Beach karate school owner. “But anyone can become a black belt, people of any age, even the disabled. The key word is ‘perseverance.’ ”
Students at Thompson’s Ryoshin-Kan Karate School in Lynnhaven recently completed one of four annual Kyu, or underbelt tests. This test is for achieving the belt rankings of yellow, purple, green, blue and brown. The black belt test is just given once-a-year. Beginning students wear a white belt, which is right below the yellow belt.
It can take students up to three to four years to rise through the ranks high enough to take the black belt test, which includes sparring and performing numerous martial arts routines and techniques.
Thirty-two of Thompson’s students have earned black belt status, some of them rising to the advanced black belt ranking of fourth degree black belt; Sensei Thompson is an eighth degree black belt.
“I tell my students, ‘a black belt is a white belt who never gave up,’ “ said Thompson. "I am always very proud of my students who do well on the underbelt tests and the black belt tests. It takes much dedication."
Thompson’s students perform locally and national with the school's Dragon Force National Karate Demo Team.
For more information call 757-468-1643 or visit www.dragonforcekarate.com.
Students at Thompson’s Ryoshin-Kan Karate School in Lynnhaven recently completed one of four annual Kyu, or underbelt, tests. This test is for achieving the belt rankings of yellow, purple, green, blue and brown. (Courtesy photo.)