Read below about three BSKA students, also students of the Hummingbird Elementary School in Belize City, Belize, who have received their black belts: Rhiki Alegria, Jonathan Marshalleck and Hanna Diskin.

The following text was originally posted by the Hummingbird Elementary School on their website and is used with permission.

Rhiki Alegria is an exceptional student.  He always strives in whatever he does and always seem to excel.  He is a model student in the classroom academically and socially, but one other way he exceeds is in fighting.  This particular fighting skill comes by way of Japan and means a martial art involving a variety of techniques, including blocks, strikes, evasions, throws, and joint manipulations. Karate practice is divided into three aspects: kihon (basics), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring).  The word karate is a combination of two Japanese characters: kara, meaning empty, and te, meaning hand; thus, karate means "empty hand."

Rhiki has been involved with this ancient way of fighting since he was five years old which is approximately six years that he has been involved with the sport.

He said he became interested when his mom introduced him to it and he immediately fell in love with the sport.  He likes the fact that it teaches him self-defense and discipline.  He has already reached the elusive black belt and he especially loves the “katas” because they are fun to do.  He has won numerous medals, his favorite being the gold and bronze medals he received in Toronto, Canada, where he represented the country of Belize in the World Shoto Cup in 2010.

He strives in all he does.  Way to go, Rhiki!!

Read Rkihi’s Interview
Q: How old were you when you started karate?

Rhiki: 5 years old.
Q: How long have you been in karate?

Rhiki: About 5 years now.

Q: Do you like Karate? Why?
Rhiki: I like karate because it teaches you discipline.

Q: What is your favorite thing about karate?
Rhiki: I like katas which are a group of movements.  They are fun to do.

Q: Do you think you will continue karate even though you have a black belt?
Rhiki: Yes, I definitely will.  It is a very good sport.

Q: What does karate teach you?
Rhiki: It teaches you self defense and discipline.

Q: Would you tell others to join karate, why or why not?
Rhiki: I would tell everyone to at least try it.  It’s a great sport.

Q: Why did you get interested?
Rhiki: My mom introduced me to the sport and I fell in love with it.

Q: What was your favorite moment?
Rhiki: When I went to Canada for the World Shotocup 2010

Q: What awards have you received?
Rhiki: Gold and bronze medals at Canada

See images of Rhiki

Hanna Diskin is an exceptional student who is dedicated to the development of her skills, whether it be academically or physically.  Her ambitious spirit allows her to succeed in whatever outlet she pursues.  She has grown athletically over the years and is involved in a number of sports including volleyball and basketball.

Most recently she has acquired what is believed to be a rather prestigious honor in the Karate world.  In mid-March she received her first black belt also referred to as “First Dan”.  It is quite admirable to see that only after five years she has accomplished what many take years to do.  

Starting 2005, she has acquired nine (9) belts before reaching the notable “First Dan”.  It is quite evident that her diligence in training has indeed paid off as she celebrates such a victory.  She credits all her success to the discipline she attained in training, and anyone can attest to the fact that Hanna is quite dedicated and diligent in every aspect of her life.  It is no wonder that she is one of the very few who was able to “shine” in her karate endeavor. 

“One on One"  with Hanna Diskin
Q : When did you become involved in karate?

Hanna: When I was seven years old.  It’s been five years now.  I started in 2005.
Q: Was it something you enjoyed?

Hanna:  When my mom first put me in karate, I was a bit terrified but as I practiced I became more comfortable.
Q: How have your skills developed overtime?

Hanna: Well, since karate teaches discipline I have acquired a certain level of control and continuous practice allows me to improve on techniques taught.
Q: How has karate influenced your life?

Hanna: As I said, it teaches discipline, something applied even in school.  It also allows for meeting new people and interacting with those even in other countries.  Additionally, it opens new doors.  We get to travel to different places and participate in tournaments.
Q: Where have you travelled to so far?

Hanna: We went to Canada to take part in the World Tournament where I placed 2nd in Kata and 3rd in Kumite.  We are to travel to Guyana soon.
Q: You mentioned Kata and Kumite, what are those about? 

Hanna: Kata involves basic movement to defend yourself and to attack. Kumite involves applying Kata into fighting.
Q: Most recently you have received your “Black Belt”. How was that experience?

Hanna: It was a proud moment.  I was ecstatic!  My parents were so proud and that made the accomplishment all the better.

Q: What does one need to acquire a “Black Belt”?
Hanna: Well, you need to acquire all nine belts prior to receiving the black belt.  It takes a lot of people a very long time to achieve all, but fortunately I got mine in five years.

Q: How will this affect your future?
Hanna: Well, I am dedicated to it so much that I believe it is a part of me.  I intend to teach other students and have them understand the importance of discipline and how it relates to academics as well. 

see images of Hanna

Jonathan Marshalleck started practicing karate at 6 years old, excited and ready to work towards attaining his black belt.  He found out that one must go through stages to achieve that belt.  He was a little disappointed. It took Jonathan four months to get his first belt so he realized he must be patient and dedicated to achieve his mission. Finally, Jonathan got his black belt in May, 2009.

Jonathan felt so proud when he received his black belt he “worked forever to get.”  It took five (5)years to get it!  

Jonathan along with Rhiki and Hanna were able to travel to Canada to take part in the Toronto’s World Shotocup Tournament. 

Read Jonathan's Interview:

Q: How old were you when you became involved in karate?
Jonathan: I was six years old.

Q: How has karate influenced your life?
Jonathan: It has made me disciplined and dedicated to my work.

Q: What is your favorite thing about karate?
Jonathan: Kumite

Q: When you acquired your black belt, describe how you felt?
Jonathan: I felt happy and excited that I am now in the black belt stage.

Q: What does Karate teach you?
Jonathan: It teaches one self-discipline

Q: What was your best moment?
Jonathan: My best moment was when I received my first belt  and when I got the opportunity to represent my country in a tournament abroad.

See images with Jonathan

This article was written by the Hummingbird Elementary School and used with permission.