JKIDI, Island Aikido recognize black belt recipients
This past summer, the Japan Karate Institute of Daniel Island (JKIDI) and Island Aikido, which holds classes at JKIDI, recognized three students who earned their first degree black belts.
Emmett Gately received his black belt in Wado Ryu Karate in June under Sensei Glenn Raus, the owner and head instructor at JKIDI; and Mitchell Feinman and Evelyn Witte earned their black belts in Aikido under the instruction of Sensei Max Sherman, head instructor of Island Aikido, in August.
Discovered by Hironori Otsuka in 1934, Wado Ryu is a Japanese karate style that is a combination of Funakoshi’s Shotokan Karate, jujutsu and kempo, according to the Wado International Karate-Do Federation’s website. “Wa” meaning peace or harmony, “do” meaning way or path and “Ryu” meaning style of or school of.
Coined eight years later by Morihei Ueshiba in 1942, Aikido is a unique martial art, or budo, in that its core mission is to promote peace through conflict resolution, not violence,” explained Feinman. “The philosophy and technique of Aikido training focuses on controlling aggression and violence without permanent injury to the attacker.”
Gately, who is just 14-years-old, was able to earn his black belt in Wado Ryu in seven years. With having to balance being a student, teenager and dedicated trainee, time management was key, he explained.
“As a high school student and a black belt, I think the ability to maintain both has been due to my love of learning,” said Gately. “…I have always been interested in karate…The more I learned, the more it peaked my interest, making me want to learn more.”
Obtaining a black belt in Wado Ryu is not easy. According to Raus, who has been training in karate since 1999, it takes commitment and hours of training.
“Kohai Emmett is the 28th student to earn a black belt at JKIDI,” said Raus. “In our 14 years, over 1200 students have trained here, so you can see how significant of an accomplishment it truly is. Each black belt holds the same three attributes: they are serious in their training, they consistently put forth their best effort, and most importantly, they never give up.”
Feinman, a Daniel Island resident and rheumatologist, has been involved in martial arts for over 12 years.
After obtaining his black belt in Wado Ryu Karate at JKIDI in 2010, he began his training in Aikido, Feinman explained. It took him seven and a half years to acquire another black belt in Aikido, making him the first to have black belts in two different martial arts at JKIDI.
“Aikido is a martial art that is literally defined as ‘The way of harmony of the spirit,’” said Feinman. “Aikido focuses on using opponents’ energy to gain control of them, emphasizing dynamic movement and motion. I enjoy participating in Aikido because it satisfies both my physical and spiritual well-being.”
Witte, who works locally as a massage therapist, explained that she has been interested in Asian culture, specifically Japan, since she was a child. This ultimately led her to first discover Aikido while away at college in 2003.
“I started Aikido in 2003, training pretty frequently through 2006 before taking a break in 2007,” said Witte. “I picked Aikido back up in 2009 and received my Shodan this August, so [it took] 13 years…Through Aikido, I found a wonderful community of fellow practitioners working together to use martial arts for harmony and peace, not power and force of strength.”
Their instructor, Sherman, has over 44 years of experience in martial arts, 28 of which has been dedicated to Aikido.
“Both of these individuals have been training for many years, and their dedication and commitment to their personal development is admirable,” said Sherman. “You should know that a Shodan—first degree black belt—is considered the beginning level for serious students in Aikido, as it is a life-long study. I am extraordinarily proud of both of them and so very glad to have them in our dojo program.”