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Lil’ Ninjas Demonstrate Courage at MN State Karate Championships

One-by-one Marky Collins (5 yrs), Cody Johnson (5 yrs), and Dane DeGiacomo (4 yrs) stood before a crowd of hundreds and performed their memorized routine of karate blocks, kicks, and punches for judges Sunday at the Minnesota State Karate Championships held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Marky and Cody both tied for 2nd place in the forms division and Dane, the youngest competitor in the group, earned a fourth place award for his effort. Not one of the three was intimidated by the crowd surrounding them and each of them left the arena a winner. The annual tournament attracts competitors from across the state of Minnesota and more from Wisconsin.

The three students all began their martial arts training as part of Cellar Kickboxing and Martial Arts’ Lil’ Ninjas preschool karate program. Cellar Kickboxing is located on Old Highway 8 NW in New Brighton. The program has been specially designed to prepare children to excel in kindergarten and enhance their basic motor skills through martial arts training. Lil’ Ninjas classes utilize karate games and drills that practice and reinforce Life Skills such as listening, focus, balance, memory, coordination, and more. Both Marky and Cody began the Lil’ Ninjas program more than a year ago and were recently promoted into the school’s 6-9 yr old program because their listening and focus in class had improved so much. Dane, who turned four last week, began the Lil’ Ninjas program six months ago.

Chris Cichon, Chief Instructor of the youth karate program at Cellar Kickboxing and Martial Arts says, “I encourage all of my youth students to compete at the local tournaments. Not only does it give the students new challenges, but it teaches them confidence, sportsmanship, and to try their best.”

Also competing from New Brighton’s Cellar Kickboxing Gym was:
• Dane D. – 4th place; 5yrs and under forms division
• Cody J. – 2nd place; 5yrs and under forms division
• Marky C. – 2nd place; 5yrs and under forms division
• Alicia J. – 1st place; 6-7 yrs blue belt creative forms division
• Alicia J. – 3rd place; 6-7 yrs blue belt traditional forms division
• Alicia J. – 3rd place; 6-7 yrs blue belt sparring division
• Mariah S. – 1st place; 8-9 yrs blue belt forms division
• Mathew J. – 5th place; 10-11 yrs blue belt forms division
• Amilia P. – 1st place; 12-14 yrs red belt forms division

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