Two friends captured their black belts recently at the Success Martial Arts in Lebanon.
Hunter Harris and Bryson Hart, both 9, sweated and fought their way to their first black belts. Something they have been working towards since before they were first-graders.
Hunter and Bryson graduated from Success’s Little Dragons program, which is for younger students, and have worked toward their belts for about four years each.
They performed various tasks as they tried to reach their goals Friday night, including taekwondo routines, board breaking and sparring by themselves and with others.
Throughout the exam, they both showed signs of fatigued and discouragement, although they did not succumb to the pressure and difficulty of their tasks.
Marisa Hunter, Hunter’s mother, said there was a point where Hunter questioned if he wanted to continue in his martial arts training, but he ultimately stuck with it. Hunter’s trainer said that’s normal for any kid their age.
“I told him, ‘Where I’m from, we don’t quit.’ I told him if you start something you finish it.” Marisa said.
Hunter, a fourth-grader at Byars-Dowdy, said he joined martial arts because he wanted to learn to defend himself, and although he looked tired, he said he felt pretty good about achieving his goal of getting a black belt.
Bryson, a fourth-grader at Castle Heights, said he also joined martial arts to learn to defend himself and to learn new things. He said he enjoyed being in martial arts because he made a lot of new friends.
“It’s really great that they did it together, because there’s not a lot of African-Americans doing martial arts around here.” Marisa said.
Hunter is glad he achieved a black belt, but said he is eager to get back to his other love –baseball.
Bryson wants to return to Success to help with the Little Dragons and continue to practice martial arts.