Local mixed-martial arts students earn colored belts

Mixed-martial arts students of 10K MMA, a local dojo, recently advanced in rank after performing moves defined by the Rigan Machado jiu jitsu organization.

Brazilian jiu jitsu, a martial art that developed out of judo, focuses on self-defense, especially from the ground, using throws, joint locks, and chokes. Unlike other martial arts, it does not depend upon an individual’s strength to control an opponent. Instead, practitioners apply the physics of leverage and flow to best larger and stronger opponents.

The students worked several sessions each week for seven months in order to train for the belt test. Students who felt prepared signed up for testing. Five students rose to the rank of yellow and white belt, while one student, Kailynn Schmitz, successfully tested for her yellow belt, effectively skipping a rank—a rarity in the art.

Laura Martinson, parent of two students and a student herself, said it’s a positive activity for her family.

“It’s so good for them—physically and mentally, and builds their confidence and focus,” Martinson said. “I love that it’s a sport we can do together as a family.”

Head Brazilian jiu jitsu instructor Brandon Smith said his students have a lot to be excited about.

“We’ve passed an exciting milestone at the dojo—our first youth belt test,” Smith said. “We have a lot of fun in class and they’ve made amazing progress. This is challenging. I’m so proud of their dedication and hard work.”

Smith, who has worked at 10K MMA since it opened in 2009, holds the rank of blue belt with four stripes.

After a stringent certification process became a Rigan Machado Jiu Jitsu school affiliate last April and began training both adults and youth, according to the rigorous standards of famed practitioner Rigan Machado, considered by many as the best Brazilian jiu jitsu martial artist in the world.