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East Coast Martial Arts promoted 12 students at a black belt test on April 2. Students testing for a black belt are required to write an essay about what a black belt means to them. We’ll share the first page of these essays at the end of this blog post, but first, we had a chance to catch up with Travis Dagner to get his take on the test. Mr. Dagner not only had students testing, but he was being tested himself.
EC: So what belt did you test for?
TD: It was my 4th degree or dan.
EC: When did you start training?
TD: I started training in 1999.
EC: You are so young.
EC: Travis, what was it like taking part in a test in which you also had students testing?
TD: It was a lot of pressure. As an instructor, I want my students to do well. I love watching the kids. They are scared and nervous and they go out there and give 110%. As an student, I had to prepare myself as well. I wanted to prepare the kids, but had to prepare myself too. I’m proud of those kids because it is a time commitment, not just a year or two.
EC: How long does it take a student to get a black belt?
TD: Our average is 3.5 to 4 years, plus they have to help teach 30 different classes to improve their leadership skills.
EC: Are you still taking classes at Kent State?
TD: Yes, I’m a full time student at Kent.
EC: What are you studying?
TD: Business management.
EC: Is there anything that you have learned in the martial arts that will help you in management?
TD: You always hear people complain about how terrible their managers are and it’s because their managers never learned how to be a leader. They never learned how to listen and show respect for other people so that you yourself gain respect. You can’t ask someone to do something you yourself aren’t willing to do. If I can’t take 5 minutes to help a student outside of class, I can’t ask anyone else to do it. It’s the same in business.
EC: Is there anything else you would like to add?
TD: It takes a village. We have all these great instructors. That’s recognition for not only helping the kids, but they help me as well. It’s a family here.
EC: Thanks Travis.
TD: Thank you.
We are proud of all the students who tested. Here is what a black belt means to them:
Our students often make us proud. This is another example of East Coast Martial Arts students displaying character, confidence and leadership in the community. Before highlighting these young leaders, we would like to acknowledge St. Baldrick’s for the work they do.
Worldwide, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. And in the U.S., more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease—more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined. St. Baldrick’s head-shaving events began as a challenge between businessmen and have grown from one event in 2000 to over 1,300 events in 2013, raising critical funds for childhood cancer research.
Ben and Aiden Hoppe
blue tip and black belt first dan
black belt second dan
Great work guys. We are proud of you. Keep leading by example.
Lucas Lepri put on an outstanding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminar at East Coast Martial Arts. Lepri is a world class professor as well as competitor. We were honored to have him at an event so close to our heart.
Lepri started off with some slick subs from a transition to mount. Then he showed the best deep half guard pass in existence. He followed that up with a way to break the lapel grip once it is fed through the legs in sitting guard and how to attack with submissions from there. Once the instruction was over, Lepri took the time to train with people from the seminar and take photos with anyone who wanted them. Lepri could not have been any more helpful or kind with his time and knowledge.
The Annual Cancer Awareness Seminar is a great way for the community to enjoy jiu-jitsu and give something back. This year we raised more than $6,000 and counting for the Shower’s Center at Akron Children’s. If you were not able to attend, but would still like to support the cause, shirts are available for $20. All proceeds from shirt sales will be added to the donation.
The shirts are going fast. We will do our best to update availability on this form. Please be aware that we may not have your desired size in stock. If you order before we update, we will contact you and refund your account immediately. Thank you for your understanding.
Thank you to everyone who sponsored the seminar: