By David Doucette

OJA Panel, top left: Doug Knispel, Gary Pilon, David Honey, Terry Yanke.  Candidates, bottom left: (1) Jeff Murphy, (2) Alex Bolhaar, (3)Joe Roters. 
Assisting (‘uke’): bottom right: Kyle Wooley

ProSpar Martial Arts, Barrie: ‘Nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow’ -blustery conditions  in southern Ontario could not keep three dedicated martial artists from  their date with destiny. Destined, that is, to appear before an OJA Senior Instructors panel and complete their journey to black belt status. They kicked, punched, threw, rolled and reaked controlled mayhem  in a rigorous test of  Japanese Jiujitsu skills. Experienced eyes of the expert panel  assured OJA Provincial  standards were met while reassuring  candidates of their readiness to  advance.

We’ve been training a along time for this,” said Alex Bolhaar, “it was everything we were hoping for. There were some things we were surprised about but that brought out our competitive edge and made sure we could adapt to circumstances.”

“You feel confident,” added Joe Roters, “because the Professors and Senseis have guided you to that point and given you everything you need to pass. It was an awesome experience.”

Jeff Murphy remarked on the camaraderie he experienced in an unfamiliar environment,

“I was at Richmond Hill yesterday for the pre-grading and today is  my first time at the Barrie dojo. I just met three awesome training partners and people from other clubs [at the subsequent seminar]. Ultimately it’s a community we have and are building. Covid was tough for everybody and now  we are all getting back together. I really enjoyed it.”

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