YOUNG STARS - Garreth Jones and Jonas Bystrom put on a clinic of their skills last week to commemorate their recent black belt achievement.

Sylvan Lake martial artists bring home black belts

Sylvan Lake Traditional Karate, under the tutelage of Sensei Doug Smith, continues to produce quality athletes of the highest order.

Sylvan Lake Traditional Karate, under the tutelage of Sensei Doug Smith, continues to produce quality athletes of the highest order.

Recently, Garreth Jones and Jonas Bystrom reached a bucket list goal of achieving their black belts.

“For many people, the dream of becoming a black belt remains just that a dream,” Smith said. “However, those who choose to take the bold first steps of pursuing this lofty goal are immediatley impressed by unexpected challenge and depth. This tends to awaken something inside, akin to a thirst.”

According to Smith, this thirst is for the accumulation of knowlege, curiosity, new challenges, physical prowness and the need to continue on to see what is next. This desire to reach their black belt leads to a “love of the jouney”. According to Smith, both Bystom and Jones have achieved this love through their journey and have now reached their initial goal of obtaining a black belt.

The journey, according to Smith, is a full day of nerves, physical endurance and mental toughness.

The order of achieving your black belt on grading day is as follows:1000 push-ups to start

One hour of seisa, a kneeling posture which Smith said can be “the hardest part of the grading.”

A judging panel arrives with over 117 years of combined experience and four black belts amongst them

Kata and weapons

More judges arrive

Self-defense, releases, escapes, hold downs, more kata, more weapons, basics, break falls, jujitsu

Continuous sparring with new black belts to exhaustion

This completed the physical portion of the grading, however Smith explained potential black belts must also show dissemination of assigned kata, shown knowledge of history, terminology and a hand-written essay.” He added students also must achieve an expectaion of character. Overall, the total process is over 10 hours long.

“I am proud to say it’s this area that both Gareth and Jonas excel the most,” Smith said regarding their character. “They’re both community minded and are both active with volunteerism and can usually be found helping somone. This community is very fortunate to have such loyal and exceptional young gentlemen sharing and contributing with their prodigious work ethic and values.”

Both Jones and Bystrom acheived their black belts much to the pleasure of their sensei.

“I am proud to say congratulations to both Garreth Jones and Jonas Bystrom on earning your black belts,” Smith said. Tthe future is indeed very bright.”