There are five newly ranked black belts in Louisiana. And each one is a unique individual that shows there is not such thing as “typical” black belt.
On Sunday, Oct 25, five students from American Family Martial Arts were promoted to 2nd or 3rd degree black belts at a small ceremony held at Frank’s Restaurant in Prairieville.
Rachael Tullier, David Tullier, Jose Martinez and Elise Overton were promoted to 3rd degree black belts. Wesley Hau was promoted to 2nd degree black belt.
Rachael and Jose tested in March but their promotions were delayed due to COVID lockdowns.
A senior student at Southeastern Louisiana University, Rachael has been taking martial arts since she was born. She is the daughter of American Family Martial Arts school owners, Michael & Jacky Tullier. During her speech, Rachael talked about how so many people are surprised to learn that she is a 3rd degree black belt. “I’m not sure what they expect a black belt looks or acts like,” she said, “most of them comment, but you’re so sweet.”
The black belts had an opportunity to display their versatility and confidence skills when informed about 30 min before the presentation they would need to give a one minute speech.
Jose and Wesley said they were glad that over the years, their moms had introduced them to karate and brought them to class even when they didn’t want to go. Jose is a 10th grader at Denham Springs High School. Wesley attends school in Ascension Parish.
Jose has been a student since age 6 overcoming injuries and his severe dyslexia. He has risen through the ranks and is a valued assistant instructor helping with both the Tiny Tigers and Little Ninjas as well as the 7-14 year old students. This valuable work experience gives him a leg up in the working world that most people his age aren’t able to find.
When Wesley was informed that even in the chaos that has happened in 2020, he needed to put in more training time to test for 2nd degree, he showed how his training in Tang Soo Do has paid off. Applying the self discipline lessons he’s learned, he stepped up this training and was in the dojang (or dojo) 4 days a week before his test.
David is also the child of the school owners and attends University of Louisiana-Lafayette where he is a sophomore. He talked about how staying in the present is one of the things he has learned in martial arts. That while making 1st degree, 2nd degree and now 3rd degree black belt are goals he worked hard to achieve, it’s still important to focus on what you do every day to work towards those goals.
A senior at Baton Rouge High, Elise talked about how putting “3rd degree black belt” on college applications certainly is a great thing to list but there is so much more she has gained by studying Tang Soo Do. She has learned to stick with and persevere when things are challenging. Elsie also trains with her brother, Jake a black belt, and her sister, Elliana, a jr black belt. At one time their mother trained as well.
American Family Martial Arts has locations in Baton Rouge and Prairieville. It teaches students ages 3-103 the Korean art of Tang Soo Do with skills of courage, focus, integrity and discipline along with punching and kicking.