SAFFORD — Changing lives, one black belt at a time.

Extreme Martial Arts held its 2019 black belt graduation ceremony Saturday at the David M. Player Center for the Arts.

Saturday evening was a special night for eight students who all tested and passed the exam for their black belts.

“Besides the first day of karate, when you get your white belt, which is the most important belt because you have to get started, the black belt is the next huge, huge milestone; and as an instructor, seeing the kids pushing and pushing is amazing,” said Chad Jones, Extreme Martial Arts owner and chief instructor.

Throughout the evening, the students of Extreme Martial Arts participated in weapons use, brick breaking and martial arts forms, as well as giving out gifts to certain audience members.

Earning a black belt is certainly not easy; it takes a great deal of work, time and effort to earn a black belt. Safford native, Cambree Reynolds is 11 years old and earned a second-degree black belt.

“I’ve been in karate for seven years and I love it. If I’m having a bad day, it just brightens it up; it’s so fun.”

For anyone who is interested in joining, Jones had this to say: “First thing is, you got to give it a shot, because you don’t know what you don’t know until you try something. We have students of all ages, different shapes and sizes, and we accommodate everybody. It’s a great learning environment.”

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