Locals taking ultimate Black Belt test

Three Minden/Gardnerville area residents are going to be taking the ultimate test in kindness when it comes to self defense

Local martial arts teachers Kelly Abella, Brandon Brady and Dave McNeill say kindness may be the ultimate form of self-defense. To make their point, they are pledging to personally perform at least 1000 acts of kindness for their next black belt exam - and to facilitate 50,000 acts from their students, family, and friends.

Abella has 25 years of martial arts experience which includes a four-year stint as a professional kick boxer with a 34-2 record. He also holds a 3rd degree black belt in mixed martial arts.

Brady, a local firefighter/paramedic, has been with West Coast Martial Arts in Minden for 18 years and is a 3rd degree black.

McNeill, a recent cancer survivor, with 34 years of martial arts experience, is an eighth degree black belt in Goju-Shorei and the head of the Goju-Shorei Weapons System.

These local martial artists have recently been accepted into a master teachers program called The Ultimate Black Belt Test, also known as UBBT. The Acts of Kindness Program is one of more than 30 tasks and projects they will be embracing to earn their next black belt degree.

"This test is like the Ultimate Ironman for martial arts teachers," McNeill said. "It's 24 months of testing, where we're also required to perform 52,000 pushups and crunches, 1,000 rounds of sparring, 1,000 repetitions of a kata, and generally spend hundreds of hours on the mat practicing the martial arts."

But that's not all the UBBT requires of its participants. They will spend a day in a wheelchair, a day blind, and a day mute. They will have to organize, or participate in an environmental clean-up project, meditate every day for two years, fix three relationships gone bad, profile 10 living heroes, go through a strict diet and weightlifting program and walk 1,000 miles.

"The UBBT is a landmark teaching program where advanced martial arts teachers seeking new rank are required to walk-the-talk in all areas of their lives," said national director Tom Callos of Placerville, Calif. "It is a new standard for master teachers and only serious, career martial artists are accepted as students. In today's world martial arts teachers don't need to teach self-defense from physical attack, we need to teach self-defense from apathy, lack of self-esteem, and mediocrity.

"More people will be hurt by those attitudes than will ever be hurt by a punch or a kick. The UBBT requires its participants to practice and teach the philosophy of the martial arts - and not just its physical aspects."

Abella, Brady and McNeill will be on a campaign over the coming year to enlist community support and involvement with their Acts of Kindness campaign. For more information, contact Abella, (775) 745-6868 or kabella@adaptivedefense.com, Brady, (775) 230-2019 or bbrady@adaptivedefense.com or McNeill (775) 267-2506 or sokemcneill@gojushorei.com. To see the full requirements for the Ultimate Black Belt Test, visit www.ultimateblackbelttest.com.


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