Spirit first, technique second

Ten students earned their black belts at Kootenay Martial Arts on Saturday.

Many boards - both wood and concrete - were broken during a black belt graduation ceremony Saturday at Kootenay Martial Arts.

Many boards - both wood and concrete - were broken during a black belt graduation ceremony Saturday at Kootenay Martial Arts.

Black belts aren’t just for fashion.

Ten students earned their black belts at Kootenay Martial Arts’ annual exam and graduation ceremony Saturday. The students aged 11 to 64 endured a lengthy private test before showing off their skills in front of a crowd of supporters. For some, that included punching through concrete blocks.

The academy has now graduated more than 100 students to first Dan black belt since it opened in Nelson 15 years ago.

First dan grads included Stacy Devries, Robin Robertson, Nathan Croston, Sasha Semenick, Aaron Postnikoff, Leslie Vissers, Isaac Vissers, Marilou Smith and Bryce Sheloff.

Laurie Snowdon, Caleb Kavaloff and Emma Saville also earned their second Dan belts.