Senior Earns Fourth Degree Black Belt

Senior Earns Fourth Degree Black Belt

If you saw her walking the halls of Dayton Christian High School, you probably wouldn’t guess Lexie England’s major skill set. A senior this year, England is by all accounts a good student and a good kid. However, when you see England step onto a martial arts mat as a newly minted fourth degree tae kwon do black belt, you would more likely use adjectives such as motivated and intense and goal-oriented, just to name a few.  

England was awarded her fourth degree black belt last week in a ceremony at Ultimate Leadership Martial Arts in Springboro.

As is the custom, England was also given a sword chosen for her by her instructor, seventh degree Master Black Belt Michael Mershad, owner of the ULMA training center and a DC parent.

The accomplishment is one that demands commitment. It takes about three years to earn a black belt. For each degree above that, a student spends years in training. For example, a third degree black belt must train for three years before earning a fourth degree.

England has been in training for this achievement since she was six years old.

“I have always tried to stay consistent and determined,” said England. “It isn’t always easy to go to class when the busy-ness of life surrounds you, but if you stick with your goals, the results will be worth it.”

England earned her belt in a test that included sparring, self-defense, board-breaking and the performance of forms in front of a number of black belt masters and grand masters.

After eleven years of training, one has to wonder if England is ready to turn in her dobok, but that isn’t the case. A fifth degree black belt may be in her future.

“I plan to stick with it. I’ve always enjoyed it,” said England. “And as Mr. Mershad said at the ceremony, ‘It is not just about earning a black belt and then considering yourself done. It is important to keep setting goals to keep you motivated and to keep going.'”

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