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Martial Arts America Students Earn Prestigious Black Belts

On April 30, Martial Arts America in Hicksville hosted its annual Black Belt Extravaganza at SUNY Old Westbury’s McGuire Theater. A total of 26 black belts were honored in a Traditional Fire and Water Black Belt Ceremony. The parents and spouses of the new black belts were part of the ceremony as well. The extravaganza was a showcase for all the black belts to demonstrate their proficiency in various aspects of their training, along with over 200 other students of the school graduating to their next belt level from age 4- to 64-years old. There were over 500 spectators on hand to see the event.

“They worked so hard, it was great to see that pay off in a big way. They were all so good! I’m just so proud!” said one black belt mom.     

Special awards were given to senior instructor Michael Donohue, due to his dedication to the community, student service and outstanding leadership. Martial Arts America was recognized as one of the top 50 in the U.S. and on May 1, SaBumNim Mike was inducted as an ambassador at Long Island’s most prestigious Martial Arts Event –The “Just For Champions Martial Arts Hall of Fame.” Donohue was awarded the “Golden Warrior Lifetime Achievement Award” for over 25 years serving the Martial Arts industry.

Also on hand to present special certificates of merit to all the new black belts for their hard work and dedication to achieving their goal was long time supporter of the school, Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker and Town of Oyster Bay Councilwoman Rebecca Alicia.         

Prior to the extravaganza, the candidates, ranging in ages from 10- to 50-years old, underwent an eight-week intensive training cycle where they were required to track and log acts of kindness, righting wrongs and mending relationships, list personal victories, empathy training and physical training (including 3,200 reps push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and running, just to name a few) ending with a written exam and final test with Grandmaster Shin and the Black Belt review board of the United Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do Association located in Floral Park.    

“I’m so proud of the progress my students have made,” said Donohue, who is also northeast director of Black Belt Schools International. “Regardless of what the future has in store for them, I know the Martial Arts have made a positive impact on their lives. On a subconscious level, it effects everything they do, from making the right choices in life to maintaining the focus to complete tasks successfully, diffusing conflict and taking proper care of themselves by eating right and staying fit and healthy. I attribute this to the high caliber of teaching and amazing team of instructors we have, including BuKyo Danny Ricuarte, BuKyo Rick Hellerer and SenSei Jason Urban. They are superheroes to our students and great role models for all the kids.”

Said one proud dad, “It was an amazing night – from the opening demo to the world champions performing, to the kids getting up to strut their stuff and the beautiful black belt ceremony … I had never seen that before, it was so moving … I don’t know how they’re going to top this next year but I am not going to miss it!”

Congratulations to the following students:

1st Dan Black Belt: Aidan Banahan, Nicholas Donohue, Jordan Francis, Nicholas Gonzalez, Andrew Hynson, Megan Kahane, Anthony Karnati, Daniel Kwak, Yohannes Negash, Nicholas Pallone, Cameron Pereda, Christian Pereda, Carlos Pereda, Emma Seeley, Anant Sriram, Samantha Stepkowski, Ashish Vengal and Ryan Wimbiscus

2nd Dan Black Belt: Paul Desimone, Paul Donohue, Lisa Llinas, Joe Llinas, Zena Mamun, Donny Rubbo and Prateek Thakur

Dan Black Belt: Gary Kuehn

To find out about their upcoming summer karate and sports day camp or evening classes offered at Martial Arts America, call 932-5275 or visit www.maa