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Lahaina karate students earn black belts

By Staff | Sep 18, 2014

Japan Karate Shotokai Lahaina Dojo students stand happily relieved to have passed their Shodan (first degree black belt) exam on Sept. 6 at Lahaina Civic Center. Pictured, from left, are JKS Hawaii Chief Instructor Charles Lee, new black belt holders Adrian Benito, Rocio “Que” Bonita Cano-Cruz, Maybell Benito, Addison Marten and Peyten Marten, and Lahaina Dojo Chief Instructor Walter Chihara.    

LAHAINA – The Lahaina Dojo of the Japan Karate Shotokai Hawaii held a Dan (black belt) examination on Sept. 6 at Lahaina Civic Center, in which five young students of the organization attained the coveted rank of Shodan (first degree black belt).

The JKS Hawaii is a member of the worldwide organization of traditional karate-do practitioners that base their martial arts training on the tenants of courtesy, respect, diligence and dedication, and trace their lineage to Shotokan Master Gichin Funakoshi.

The Lahaina affiliate was founded in 1983 by the late Jeffrey “Hulk” Zaugg and current Chief Instructor Walter Chihara.

The grueling, two-hour examination was administered by JKS Hawaii Chief Instructor Charles Lee, Shichi Dan (seventh degree) of Honolulu, Chihara (Yondan, fourth degree black belt) and Lahaina Dojo Instructor Glen Delatori (Nidan, second degree).

The test requirements for the five students – Maybell Benito (age 16), Rocio “Que” Bonita” Cano-Cruz (14), Addison Marten (13), Peyten Marten (13) and Adrian Benito (11) – included kihon (basic techniques), kata (forms) and kumite (sparring).

Maybell Benito and Cano-Cruz are Lahainaluna High School students, while the Marten girls – who are triplets with brother Chase, who earned black belt rank two years ago – attend Kihei Charter School. Adrian is a sixth-grader at Lahaina Intermediate School. All five of them have been practicing karate with the Lahaina Dojo for four years.

Lee Sensei commented that all five students showed marked improvement since his last visit to Maui, and they all passed the examination with flying colors.

“All of them did very well on the test and were very sharp in their technique and focus. I am particularly impressed with their knowledge and retention of the kata requirements of the examination. I hope they will all continue on the path of karate-do and help promote the art here on Maui,” he said.

Lahaina Dojo held a Kyu, or grade level, examination on Sept. 5, in which 22 students advanced to a higher rank.

In the beginner class, Sacha Salem, Ayumu Hironaka and Kaiulani Balinbin earned the rank of Tenth Kyu (blue belt); Aubrey McCarthy-Haia, Kahanu Opunui, Kelii Opunui, Jayelyn Finn, Eloisa Tumpap, Kanoa Medo, Hoken Hironaka and Darren Advincula advanced to Eighth Kyu (blue belt); and Kalae Robinson, Kokoro Yamazaki, Fara Lei Adincula and David Advincula passed to Seventh Kyu (green belt).

In the intermediate class, Enoka Balinbin, Christopher Salem, Kaelan Potter and Shaun Kana advanced to the rank of Third Kyu (brown belt); and Xander Domingo, Keawaiki Balinbin and Kai Shively moved up to Second Kyu (brown belt).