Four students at Clyde Stanley's Martial Arts recently black belt earned promotions.
Coleson Shaw, Matt Flynn, Brandon Harmon and Ricky Wright earned those honors.
Shaw says his training at Clyde Stanley's has not only helped him physically, but taught him to show respect, to always try his best, and to help others.
"Even on days when I do not feel well or days when things are not going my way, I know when I get to class I will have fun," he said. "I learn something new, be with my friends, and leave class with a better attitude."
Shaw said he has been helped in all areas of his life by studying martial arts.
"Martial arts have been a very important part of my life," he said. " It has given me confidence, helped me grow physically, taught me life lessons, and shown me how to set goals."
One of his goals that he has reached was to earn his Junior Black Belt. Coleson is the son of Alan and Yvette Shaw of Minden.
When Flynn began his training at Clyde Stanley's Martial Arts he said he was an "overweight couch potato". Since then he has gotten in the best shape of his life.
"Martial Arts gave me the drive to get off the couch and the confidence to raise my hand in the classroom. My school grades have greatly improved," he said. "My parents will tell you that my attitude at home is much better and I am more responsible with my chores. Before, I was always tired and never felt good. Now I am always energized, and in the best shape of my life."
Harmon started his training at Clyde Stanley's Martial Arts when he was ten years old. He trained for a couple of years and dropped out.
That was a decision he regretted for years. When he was twenty he returned to class. Since that time he has not only earned his first and second degree black belts, but has been able to travel to Tennessee and California with Sensei Stanley to train and help teach others. Brandon is a full time college student and also an instructor at Stanley's school.
Ricky Wright began training in Tae Kwon Do in 1979. From time to time he would drop in and work out with Sensei Stanley. His TKD instructor stopped teaching and Ricky started studying Kung Fu.
Unfortunately, that instructor eventually moved away as well. Sensei Stanley then convinced Ricky that Clyde Stanley's Martial Arts was here to stay and there was no better place to train.
That turned out to be a great turning point in Ricky's martial arts career. Since that time, Ricky has moved up the ranks and has now earned a sixth degree black belt master ranking.