Local martial artists tested, promoted

From left: assistant instructor Ben Hamblett, dragons instructor Faith James, Preston Driskill, Noah Driskill, assistant instructor Max Akers and head instructor Ernest Freeman. Contributed photo

Students from the Modern Martial Arts Academy of Cassville recently participated in the annual Spring belt testing and promotion ceremony.

Individuals were tested on different aspects of the martial arts and evaluated by Head Instructor Ernest Freeman.

It was an extra special day for three individuals from Cassville that tested for various black belt levels. Preston Driskill and Noah Driskill, sons of Mike and Amy Driskill, of Cassville, endured over 8 hours of testing over five consecutive nights, culminating with them both receiving their 1st Degree Junior Black Belt.

Also receiving new black belt distinction was Faith James, who received her 2nd Degree Black Belt.

“A lifetime of hard work pays off,” said Noah Driskill, who has been taking martial arts lessons for over 10 years.

“It feels awesome to be a black belt, because others will be challenging me to try to take me down, [get the better of me in sparring], and brag that they beat a black belt.” said Preston Driskill, who is embracing the new adventures of being a black belt leader in the martial arts school.

Also receiving new belt ranks are the following individuals and the ranks they attained: Billy Updike – Green Belt James Updike – Green Belt Cole Raney – Green Belt Lucious Richardson – Green Belt Brayden Jack – High Green Belt Nik Beliakoff – High Green Belt Atlas Sack – High Green Belt Reece Newman – Blue Belt Reef McIntyre – High Blue Belt Nathaniel Hamblett – Purple Belt Jeremiah Hamblett – Purple Belt Elizabeth Buntin – High Purple Belt Carson Driskill – Red Belt “All of the students did extremely well,” said Ernest Freeman, head instructor and 8th Degree Black Belt. “I’m especially proud of Noah and Preston for grinding through night after night of intense physical and mental testing to achieve their black belts. It is an accomplishment that most people will only dream about.”

Modern Martial Arts Academy, formerly the RWTB Family Martial Arts Center, has taught martial arts in Cassville since 2001 and has produced over 30 black belts in that time. MMAA is an official Carlos Machado Jiu Jitsu Association school teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, and Taijutsu (a blanket term similar to Karate that means a system or style of hand to hand combat involving realistic body movement).

MMAA is located at 601 Main St in Cassville, just one block off the historical downtown square. For more information about class times and the different program offerings, people may reach MMAA at 417-847-1415 or on Facebook.

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