Key karate kids develop personal, physical skills

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By Ada Lang

You probably don’t want to run into a gang in a dark alley but if you do, you will want  this gang to be your side:  Savannah Howard, Nicholas Kaim, and Levi, Nathaniel and Hannah Brinkman are an imposing group as they pose in their Dojo (training studio) Tuesday night. 

Levi, seven, Hannah, 10, and Nathaniel, 12 attend Cedar Key School and have been studying karate since last Christmas. Their grandparents, J.D. and Pam McCormick, realized last Christmas season that the kids were very interested in the sport. 

The McCormicks gave them “a big paper scroll,” said Levi, which declared that they were being given the gift of karate classes in Chiefland. The classes are actually mixed martial arts using taekwondo, a Korean martial art, and karate, a Japanese form.

The whole thing started last year when Savannah Howard’s friend, Nicholas Kaim, introduced her to the sport. Soon Howard’s friend, Hannah Brinkman, came along to a class or two. Younger brother Levi Brinkman just “thought it was cool,” and older brother, Nathaniel Brinkman did, too.

Now, the two older siblings have blue belts, although Hannah is slightly more advanced and has a red stripe on hers. Levi recently earned his green belt. 

Savannah’s mother, Karen Howard, says that the training is a wonderful, positive way to teach confidence to young adults.

The colored belts begin with white (the lowest) and go up to orange, green, blue, brown and then black. 

Students must stay at each level for at least three months and the amount of time a person devotes to it determines how fast that person progresses. 

Nathaniel is very active in FFA and Savannah is on the track team, so Hannah, has progressed more than they have. That explains why she sports a red stripe on her blue belt. 

The classes are taught by Dan Moll and Donna Darden in a little training studio behind the Yum Yum Shoppe and Genesis Carpet and across from the Deer Camp, on U.S. Highway 19/South Main Street in Chiefland. 

There are bleachers for family and friends to watch; and after classes ice cream from the Yum Yum Shoppe is often their reward.