Black belt test day for karate students on Laird

It’s a big day for karate students when they test for their black belt.

Which made June 13 special for Nicholas Short who has studied at Don Ritter Karate Studio for nearly seven years.

“It feels great, very rewarding,” he said about getting his first-degree adult black belt. “There was a lot of hard work going into this.”

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But the years of training weren’t all difficult. “It’s a lot of fun, to be honest,” he added.

Four students received black belts on the day, with James Colraine and Evan Edgell getting the level 1 junior black belt, and Cristian Dasilva getting the level 2 junior black belt.

About 10 students took part ion the day’s activities, including the testing and sparring sessions.

Karate at Don Ritter's studio
SPARRING: Students pair off for practice at karate studio.

The studio on Laird Drive holds black belt testing days at least once a year, says owner and trainer Don Ritter, who is a former world champion and many times Canadian national champion in karate.

His studio has been in Leaside for 27 years, starting on Millwood Road in 1992 before eventually opening in larger quarters on Laird.

He lauds karate training for doing more than teaching some martial arts skills, something that Nicholas Short agrees has worked for him. “It’s good discipline — a lot of character building.”

His father, Tim Short, who came to watch Nicholas as he has in the past, echoed the thought.

“I’m very proud for Nicholas having stuck it out for six or seven years,”he said. “I think he’s made some good friends. Don Ritter is an excellent instructor and and I’ve really enjoyed watching the project evolve.”