Junior earns black belt in martial arts


Photo courtesy of Jamisen Midcap. Used with permission.

Lily Cowie, Culture editor

There are a few athletic pastimes that come to mind almost immediately when one thinks about the broad category of sports. Sports such as baseball, soccer and football are common in the average American lifestyle. Whether one is playing or watching the sport, it is hard to escape the world of penalties and goals; however, it seems there is a sport that is not nearly as explored as others: martial arts. From first glance, it appears to be a sport focused on fighting and being tough, but from this sport emerges community, discipline and a peaceful state of mind.

Junior Jaden Stone has been practicing martial arts for eleven years and has earned great respect from his peers and master (teacher). He has earned his black belt after three years of work and commitment. Through this time he has created strong relationships with his fellow peers and with his master. Stone also teaches students and hopes to join his master in teaching.

Master Aaron Maas at Kim’s College of Martial Arts, discussed the main goal of martial arts.

“Martial arts classes are geared towards training self defense. That is not all, however. Through traditional martial arts, it is a goal of character building, to shape someone into the best version of themselves. The list is long, but what we try to focus on are self confidence, self control, mental and physical strength, discipline, positive attitude. The saying goes, a black belt is humble, gentle, and strong,” Maas said.

Stone was not alone on his journey to earn his black belt. Fellow Kim’s College of Martial Arts student, freshman Camryn Chandler talked about what she admires in Stone’s work ethic.

“Jaden had performed really well at his competitions, and he wants to do his best and no matter where he places he is very humble about whatever the place is. He works very hard to perfect whatever he is doing so he can do his very best. He also places very well,” Chandler said.

Competitions makeup a significant amount of Stone’s martial arts career, giving him the opportunity to showcase his talent. Stone talked about the layout of competitions.

“Competitions consist of board breaking, forms, sparring, and weapons forms. Ranks are first place-fifth place,” Stone said.

To prepare for competitions, dedication and hard work must be shown and exerted in classes. Maas talked about martial art classes and what they consist of.

“I teach two martial arts with those being Taekwondo and Kumdo. Both are Korean martial arts. A basic TKD class goes through a variety of things starting with warm up. From there we go into limbering up, punching exercise, hand techniques, foot techniques, hand and foot techniques, sparring, one-step sparring, falling, and then usually breaking technique. In between all of these things we usually do the conditioning side of class which includes varieties of the following: push ups, sit ups, squats, and high jumps,” Maas said.

The tough training has a payoff for every individual student, but the takeaway is not only athletic development. Stone mentioned his personal take away from martial arts classes.

“Being able to defend myself, meeting some of my best friends, and of course discipline!” Stone said.

To further clear up misconceptions about martial arts, Maas reiterated the purpose of the sport.

“Martial arts is only about creating peace. To defend and protect. It is never supposed to be used in a negative manner towards anything or anyone,” Maas said.

Although common opinion paints martial arts as a violent sport, it is more than being the best or kicking butt. Martial arts students learn how to defend themselves and bring peace to conflicts. Stone has found a community where he can not only excel athletically, but also teach and inspire others to keep working towards their goals. Martial arts provides people with an environment to express themselves. Before people should form an opinion on martial arts, it should be remembered that not everything is as it seems.

Photo courtesy of Jamisen Midcap. Used with permission.