Three Spring Grove boys recently tested for their black belt in karate. Shown are Kai Bjerke, Lance Hegge and Austin Patterson.
Three Spring Grove boys recently tested for their black belt in karate. Shown are Kai Bjerke, Lance Hegge and Austin Patterson.
Recently, three Spring Grove students earned their black belt in karate from Strong's Karate Studio.

Kai Bjerke, a seventh grader and son of Eric and Kristin Bjerke; Lance Hegge, an eighth grader and son of Bruce Hegge; and Austin Patterson, an eighth grader and the son of Mike and Cheryl Patterson, all recently attained this honor.

The black is the eighth and highest belt in the first degree of American Karate, a combination of Okinawan Karate and (Korean) Tae Kwon Do taught by Josh Strong.

The black belt is an endurance test that shows the mastery of the basics of martial arts. It is a two-hour physical final exam covering all areas of first-degree instruction.

A panel of several judges evaluated the three young men as they progressed through 11 phases of the black belt testing including punching combinations, kicking combinations, advanced self-defense, sparring, target kicking and target punching and weapons.

Bjerke, Hegge and Patterson all used the Sai in their weapon segment.

Anyone interested in karate may observe or join anytime during the year, and the first class is free. Students from ages four to 60 have participated locally, many as families.

Spring Grove is one of the best attended of Strong's classes that also includes Caledonia, Decorah in Iowa, and De Soto in Wisconsin. 

Classes are held at the Spring Grove school gymnasium every Friday evening. Josh Strong may be contacted at (608) 792-0278.