NOW:53207:USA00949
http://widgets.journalinteractive.com/cache/JIResponseCacher.ashx?duration=5&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdata.wp.myweather.net%2FeWxII%2F%3Fdata%3D*USA00949
35°
H 45° L 33°
Flurries | 15MPH

Five earn black belts through dedication

June 26, 2008

They passed the test mentality and physically, and now they have a black belt to prove it.

The five participants who emerged from Jeff Obst’s jukado self-defense training this month earned that symbol of accomplishment after years of honing their skills.

Three Kappus sisters — Caroline, 13, Kristina, 12, and Katherine, 22 — plus Brian Kucaj, 42, and Keith Marquardt, 47, represented a kind of Class of 2008 in the St. Francis Recreation Department’s ongoing program of jukado, a self-defense discipline founded by Bruce Tegner that combines the martial arts of judo, karate and aikido.

All five participants were tested on their ability to defend themselves against long-range fist attacks, stick fighting, sparring, baton attacks and other assaults — all before a panel of about a dozen instructors.

All in the family

For the three sisters from Cudahy, the fighting isn’t about sibling rivalry — it has more to do with sisterly bonding, said Steve Kappus, their father.

“It’s been a long road for them all, but it’s also been a learning experience,” said Kappus, who has another daughter — Mary, 20 — who holds a black belt as well.

Mastering the jukado practice has taught them endurance and ambition as well as to not be quitters, he added.

Kristina, a seventh-grader at Cudahy Middle School, was the youngest in the group to earn a black belt, which she had been working toward for the past eight years.

Being awarded a black belt means “to have the courage and the knowledge to defend myself in certain situations, and the self-discipline to walk away,” she said.

For Caroline, an eighth-grader at CMS, a black belt means reaching a degree of expertise.

“It has been a long hard journey,” she said. “But my journey is not done yet. It will keep going.”

Earning a black belt is a mental benchmark, as well, Caroline said, “because, after all, a black belt is not something you wear, it is the person and state of mind you become.”

For Katherine, a Cudahy High School graduate and the oldest of six children, earning a black belt means courage, endurance, patience and strength.

“For me, my black belt is one of my first great athletic accomplishments,” she said. “I look forward to expanding my knowledge and skill of this art even more, because it is only the beginning.”

Becoming role models

Kucaj, a Bay View resident, was determined to earn his black belt despite undergoing brain surgery for a benign brain tumor. Earning a black belt is a never-ending journey and a big responsibility, he said.

“As brown belts, we learn to teach as a part of our training,” he said. “Students look up to us and watch every move we make, duplicating them almost to a T. In a small way a couple of nights each week, we are role models to them and their families.”

Marquardt, a Milwaukee resident, became motivated to earn his black belt after his son, Lucas, introduced him to karate.

Being a black belt is more than just another rank in karate, he said.

“We become role models to the students and hopefully make a positive impact on their lives,” he said. “A black belt is a person you become, not a rank, and it is a responsibility that never ends.”

Expert instruction

Their instructor is a living example of that idea. Obst, a St. Francis resident and police officer, has been teaching jukado self-defense since 1973 and has been a black belt since 1974.

He earned his black belt under the Rev. Alan Sommer, who began his martial arts training while enrolled in the St. Francis Seminary.

Obst has taught the practice to students at police academies, YMCAs, school districts, Marquette University, Milwaukee Area Technical College, the Jewish Community Center and Boys and Girls Scout camps, among other venues.

A score of 90 percent is needed to earn the black belt, which is based on one’s technique, proficiency in the art and the student’s personality and attitude, according to distributed information.

Each student received a black belt and a trophy, honoring their achievement.

Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.


Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Franklin football team holds off furious Oak Creek rally 10/31

» Preps football photos of the week: Level 2 10/31

» Hale Interchange ramp to reopen Friday 10/30

» Photo Gallery: WIAA state soccer tourney day one 10/30

» Root River Theatre continues local talent search for winter production 10/30

» Man hits workers with gravel because construction made it difficult to get into his driveway 10/30

» Helicopter helps place HVAC units on Meijer at Drexel Town Square 10/29

» Elderly resident with asthma trapped in elevator at Country View Retirement Home 10/29

» Building residents cited after fight breaks out about mail 10/28

» Poll: Who will win Level 2 game: Franklin or Oak Creek? 10/28

» Raising the American flag(s): support for Greendale Veterans Memorial remains strong 10/28

» In a new proposed OCFSD course, students would build a house 10/27

» Suburban roundup: Week one of the WIAA football postseason 10/27

» Franklin defense locks down Kenosha Bradford 10/25

» Preps football photos of the week: Level 1 10/24

» Franklin Police investigate armed robbery at North Shore Bank 10/24

» Franklin boys volleyball team wins Southeast divisional title 10/22

» Glen Morrow hired as new Franklin City Engineer 10/22

» Poll: Which area team will win a state football title? 10/22

» Franklin's EDC remains clouded in political dust-up 10/21

» Man arrested for fraud after ordering food, passing out and leaving eatery 10/21

» Teen drug use, prevention panel discussion Thursday, Oct. 30 10/21

» Early voting now open at Oak Creek City Hall 10/21

» County Supervisor Steve Taylor to host Oak Creek town hall meeting on Wednesday 10/20

» County Supervisor Steve Taylor to host Hales Corners town hall meeting on Wednesday 10/20

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss
Deal Watch - Milwaukee

Milwaukee's Best Discounts & Deals

Advertisement

Local Business Directory

CONNECT    

Most Popular