Students earn black belts |

Students earn black belts

Special to The R-C

Special to The R-C

Earlier this spring, six students from West Coast World Martial Arts in Minden received their black belts after years of dedication and hard work.

First Degrees Kylie Memro Fujii,17, Brianna Memro Fujii, 15, Hanna Grisell, 13, Emily Hone, 13, 2nd Degree Chris Kallas, 57, and 3rd Degree Travis Dohrn, 20, started their test at the San Jose Civic Auditorium in San Jose, Calif., on a Friday afternoon in March and continued Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to midnight Saturday.

The two-day rigorous testing session ended with a three-hour performance in front of about 3,000 people and several martial arts masters from all over the United States, followed by a grueling two-hour intense physical endurance course. They spent months in intense preparation.

All four of the girls are or have been involved in other activities in their local schools. They all received Best Tester awards at their Black Belt test out of 300 total testers. Kallas is also a dedicated martial artist training and staying in shape even well into his 50s.

Dohrn is an MMA fighter and just recently won his last fight in Reno against a tough opponent.

Leading the testing was 8th degree Master Instructor Ernie Reyes Sr., member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame and founder of the world famous West Coast Demo Team, and seventh-degree Master Instructor George Fujii, owner of West Coast World Martial Arts in Minden and a senior member of the West Coast Demo Team. Reyes was voted one of the top martial arts masters of the 20th Century and was voted into the black belt hall of fame for developing the most creative martial arts system in the U.S.

“These are some dedicated, hard working students and they are in great shape,” George Fujii said. “They are well-rounded, versatile martial artists. They have great character and know how to respect and help others which is the most important part of a true martial artist. They have trained consistently and been involved in martial arts from seven to 20 years and have really earned their black belts. We are proud of how they represent our school and they are great role models for others in our community.”

The students trained several hours up to six days a week, making sure they put their time in on the mat. They train in West Coast World Mixed Martial Arts curriculum and they also train in Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu curriculum which is also very challenging every week and also had to compete in local tournaments to test and represent their skills. The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is difficult and tough. You have to be in top physical shape to compete as well.

West Coast Martial Arts in Gardnerville is known for its diverse and creative system of mixed martial arts. Mixed martial arts has gained huge popularity in the last few years. Master Fujii and Master Reyes have trained in many martial arts systems and styles all over the world with many of the most famous and legendary master instructors and world champions of all styles martial arts since 1972.

At West Coast they have a Nutrishop sports nutrition and weight loss store inside the gym.

For more information, call 775-782-8343.