Young kick and chop way to first ‘black belt’ in martial art

AFTER more than six years of preparation and three-and-a-half-hours of grading, nine young martial artists from Kicks After School at Newington, have been awarded their Junior Black Belts in Kenpo 5.0.

Kicks founder, and head Australian representative for Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo 5.0, David Giovenco said it was a tough grading session.
Congratulating Catlin Adams, Mitchell Valenzuela, Katie Panozzo, Isaiah DeLove, Isaac Silva, Chelsea and Cian Colantuono, Lily Brandhoj and Kiana Giovenco, he said they’d all stayed focused the whole time.
He also noted that six of the new black belts are girls aged from 10 to 15.
“This was a goal when I opened Kicks and I couldn’t be prouder of their achievement,” he said.
Providing an alternative to traditional ‘after school options’, Kicks offers a free school pick-up and homework assistance as well as a martial arts and leadership program.
A fifth degree black belt himself, the father of three from Lidcombe, admitted that when he opened Kicks in 2013 he had no idea what he was doing or how he was going to do it.
“I wanted to provide a safe place for my own daughter to be after school and to have a group of like-minded people around that she could grow up with in a safe, caring, loving environment,” he said.
“My vision has always been to provide a safe environment for our kids to learn and grow, to become problem solvers and not adopt the ‘victim’ attitude which is so easy to fall into.”
Mr Giovenco added that with more than 160 members, and new franchise locations opening around Sydney, more junior and adult black belts would be joining the ranks soon.
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