Congratulations to Ernest Espinosa!  Belen Goju Ryu Karate's newest Black Belt

Ernest Espinosa is the latest student to achieve the rank of Black Belt at Belen Goju Ryu Karate. As of June 24th and 26th, Ernest completed his testing and got to strap on his hard earned rank.

For over eight years Ernest has been one of our most consistent students.  He works a swing shift, so has trained in our Tuesday and Thursday morning classes as well as the Saturday Weapons class and the Saturday All ages/All ranks class.  We usually test on Friday evenings so we can go as long as it takes, three to three and half hours.  We teach five classes on Tuesdays and four on Thursdays, so there was no room to extend our morning training time.  We are proud of all the students that normally train in the evening classes that were able to adjust their schedules and show up to support Ernest in his test.  (It helps that school and college classes are out at this time)

Ernest started his testing with his performance of all the required kata.  This is a total of fourteen kata and if you make an error you drop for ten push ups, to get the mind in gear, and begin that kata again.  Our last black belt testing included four students.  It sometimes helps being in group when performing this many kata in a row and Ernest did a great job by himself and only had to drop for pushups a couple of times.

Ernest completed his waza (technique) section of his Black Belt very well. He demonstrated and explained how to do each technique.  Hand techniques on the focus mitts, kicks, elbows, and knee techniques on the Force Shields, Fumi komi (stomp kicks) and sweeping techniques on the Coach bags, and then finishing with all ground techniques on the matts.

Ernest demonstrated his defense techniques against sticks, knives, and guns.  Explaining everything in detail as if he were teaching a new student.  We like to say, "If you want to learn well, teach!"

Ernest completes demonstration and explanations of techniques with the empty hand defense

The fun begins when it's that time to spar.  Ernest fought thirteen fights, beginning with the lowest rank up to the highest, Sensei Richard.  Ernest is very active in his church playing his guitar and singing hymns.  He also plays with friends in a band.  Ernest is also a painter, from portraits and regular size paintings to the large scale pieces he has on motor homes.  His Black Belt now symbolizes his accomplishments in the martial arts along with his many other talents.  Congratulations Ernest!