MAKING THE BELT — After successfully completing their tests and earning their white belts, Maggie Baldwin and her mother Dana Baldwin stand in between their black belt instructors, Claude Smith on the left and Taylor Smith, far right. Photo courtesy of Dana Baldwin
Golden Triangle (GT) Gymnastics and Karate has completed its first 10 week session of Shotokan Karate.
On Dec. 8, 22 students tested for yellow belts, with 22 succeeding.
The testing process requires each student to perform various strikes, kicks, blocks and punches. Each student then demonstrated the first “Kata”, known as “Hein Shodan”.
A “Kata” is an exercise consisting of specific movements, implementing karate and judo in a specific pattern prescribed for defending oneself against several attackers.
Shotokan Karate has more than 25 Kata’s with each having more than 20 movements.
Also on Dec. 8, a number of Stockman Bank employees and local women attended a four hour self defense class.
The primary focus of the class was on the psychology of violence. Attendees learned how and what an attacker may look for when seeking a target and tips for avoiding a potential attack or confrontation.
Students were taught hands-on applications in the event of an attack. Following the Self Defense Class and the Belt-Rank Testing, Instructors Smith and Smith spent time, doling out training tips to area Customs and Border Patrol officers.
Session two will begin Jan. 4 from 6-8 p.m. and run for eight weeks.
GT Gymnastics and Karate encourages anyone, nine years of age to adult to begin training.
Golden Triangle Karate is an official UKAI Club with qualified instructors.
All of Saturdays training and the Golden Triangle Shotokan Karate classes are taught by Claude Smith.
Smith has been studying the martial arts for 24 years, and has spent the past 19 years studying western-based Shotokan Karate. He has a third degree black belt from the United Karate Associations International and is the Technical Director of Street and Combat Tactics for the UKAI Midwest. He is also an adjunct professor at Montana State University—Great Falls where he teaches a college credit personal defense class.
Taylor Smith traveled from Grand Forks, N.D., to Golden Triangle for the events. He has been studying Shotokan Karate since 1994 and holds a second degree black belt rank.
Taylor Smith is the Technical Director of Combat Grappling for the UKAI Midwest. He has studied and trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since 2008 and is a Certified Level Two Trainer in the Modern Army Combatives program.
He is also a member of the North Dakota Army National Guard Combatives Team and has competed in the All National Guard Combatives Tournament. Taylor Smith has fought professionally as a Mixed Martial Artist, and has trained with many high level professionals and coaches in the sport, including former and current UFC fighters.
Dana Baldwin and her daughter Maggie, took the Karate class training and both have received their white belts. Baldwin said, “It was a lot of fun and we both enjoyed it. It was a good mother and daughter activity. I did it for Maggie, but I really enjoyed it too.”
Golden Triangle Gymnastics and Karate will resume Karate classes on Jan. 4 and gymnastics classes on Jan. 7.