SILER CITY, N.C. — Wednesday, March 23, 2016 — Two martial arts students were awarded black belts and six current black belts received higher ranks earlier this month when South Eastern Karate Association held its quarterly exams.
All belts and certificates were presented by Master Instructor Peggy Jolly, a seventh-degree black belt, or Seventh Dan, who owns the school and has been teaching martial arts in Siler City for more than three decades.
Alana May and Connor Redding of Siler City were each awarded the rank of First Dan Junior, or first-degree black belt. The junior designation refers to black belts awarded to younger martial artists, usually those under 18 years of age.
May came to South Eastern Karate because her father used to train at the school. Despite being out for one extended period to play softball, she was determined to come back strong, earn her black belt and then continue training.
Over nearly four years of karate, the 11-year-old has come to appreciate the value of hard work, especially when her brief hiatus forced her to relearn some techniques all over again.
May says that experience — and her training, in general — taught her to appreciate the value of hard work and discipline. “I had a friend ask me about joining,” May said. “I told her if you want to do it and work a lot, and if you like to have discipline and focus when you’re doing something, then you should train.”
Redding agrees. He said discipline helped him learn a lot of new skills that can help people defend themselves. But karate is not just about hard work, “You also learn a bunch of fun and interesting things to do,” he says.
That includes forms — series of choreographed techniques that help students simulate fighting and understand how to use their skills in combination. One of Redding’s favorites is Ba Sai, a long, complex form that can be particularly difficult for younger students to learn. Redding said he worked with adult black belts before class and during breaks until he knew it well.
Master Jolly has now trained 290 black belts at South Eastern Karate and says she’s proud of her young students for their hard work and dedication.
“Alana and Connor both started when they were about 7 years old and have trained for three or four years to become a black belt,” Jolly says. “It’s hard for many of us to remember how long that can seem when you’re so young. But they’ve worked hard, learned a lot and inspired many of our other students.”
In addition to presenting two new black belts, Master Jolly awarded higher ranks to several current black belts after a closed exam held in January.
Wendy Taylor of Carthage was awarded the rank of Fifth Dan.
Dorsey Chamblee of Ramseur and William (Chip) Pate of Pittsboro were awarded the rank of Fourth Dan Instructor.
Kim Garrett of Liberty was awarded the rank of Third Dan Instructor.
David Scotton of Julian was awarded the rank of Third Dan.
Steve Brown of Moncure was awarded the rank of Second Dan.
Jessica Brown of Moncure was awarded the rank of Second Dan Junior.
Some of the upper ranks reflect decades of training as well as leadership provided within the school.
Classes are held in Siler City on Tuesdays and Thursdays — with one class primarily for children from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and another class primarily for adults from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Liberty classes are Mondays and Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Details are available at southeasternkarate.com.
South Eastern Karate Association has taught Korean martial arts in central North Carolina since 1982 to men and women from 5-years-old to well past retirement age. Schools in Siler City and Liberty feature instruction in self-defense and emphasize confidence, physical fitness and self-discipline.