It All Began 15 Years Ago

About 15 years ago, LeighAnn Moore brought her young son, Mark, to SMAA and enrolled him in our Little Dragons program.

Mark was a happy youngster who instantly loved training in the martial arts and gave his all in every class he attended.

Over the years, Mark graduated into the Karate Kids classes and as he grew, so did his martial arts skill.

He Learned How to Control His Body

One of Mark’s biggest challenges was how to control his body, to make it do what he wanted it to do, particularly his fine motor skills.

Mark has worked diligently over the years to control his wrists and his fingers until he finally gained this ability!

The amount of time and energy Mark has devoted to improving and mastering his body is both extraordinary and inspiring.

Leaving for Summers Never Stopped Him

Another challenge Mark faced was that he spent summers in California, so he would train for nine months, take time off, and then return to pick up each fall where he left off.

Mark never got discouraged, he would simply pick up where he left off and during private lessons he would express his desire to jump back into class with his friends.

Mark is a shining example of a critical Black Belt Mindset, that of not comparing ourselves to others and instead focusing on our own journey.

Once he decided that he wanted to earn his Black Belt, Mark displayed the self-discipline to continue and keep his eyes on his prize.

With each successive belt he earned Mark was teary-eyed, knowing he reached his next milestone.

He Found a Supportive Group of Adults

As Mark grew both older and stronger, he joined the Adults Program where he met a compassionate, helpful group who played a major role in guiding and leading Mark on his path to Black Belt.

I’m thankful for everyone who contributed to Mark’s story.

Mark had one final challenge before his Black Belt testing, a major facial surgery that took him away from classes for several months when he could have no physical contact.

Once he recovered, it was right back at it, and Mark seemed more determined and physically ready than ever to make his final push to Black Belt.

I was excited to teach him privately to give him his final polish of all his material, and fellow Black-Belt Candidate, Jim Pogemiller, donated his time to serve as Mark’s attacker as he reviewed his self-defense techniques.

The Day He Patiently Waited and Prepared For Finally Came

I am proud to announce that on Saturday June 22nd, 2024, Mark Moore earned his Black-White Belt in front of his two proud parents.

Awarding Mark his Black-White Belt has also been one of my proudest moments as a teacher during my 26 years in Longmont.

Welcome to the wonderful world of being a Black Belt, an achievement no one can ever take away from you and one that will serve you well for the rest of your days.

Congratulations Mark!