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Budokas fill fitness center

Submitted by Ryan P.C. McQuen on November 12, 2010 – 10:29 pmOne Comment

The American Taekwondo Association hosted the midterm black belt testing last Friday at the Black Extravaganza, an event that has been held every two months for the past six years at the university’s fitness center, Master Sean Smith said.

The event brought a crowd of Central Arkansans and people from as far as Memphis. The event’s attendance approached 150, half Budokas (martial arts practitioners) and half spectators. The Budokas ranged from adults to as young as five years old (dubbed the “Tiny Tigers”), Smith said.

Two Budokas spar at the Black Belt Academy Friday, Nov. 5. Photo by Ryan McQuen.

Moluwa Matute has two children practicing their art at Karate for Kids in Maumelle. His son, Mavita, 8, has been studying martial arts for three years, and is midterm from his second black belt. His daughter, Malingo, 6, has been studying martial arts for two years, and is midterm from her first black belt. “They learn to protect themselves and they get discipline lessons as well,” Matute said. His children attend twice a week during the school year, and more often in the summer.

Carolina Gonzalez, the program director for Maumelle’s Karate for Kids at 115 Audubon Drive, is a fifth degree black belt. Their main instructor, Senior Master Dan Jorgersen, is a seventh degree black belt. “Some parents are there for discipline and self-control, and some parents are there for confidence and fitness,” Gonzalez said.

The Maumelle center offers classes for kids and adults, starting at 3 years old.

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