Fall 2019 Black Belt Promotions

Black Belt promotions were held at Rising Sun Martial Arts in Newport on Saturday, October 25th.  Calla Baker of Newport, George Dube of Goshen, Amelia Gallup of Sunapee and Jett Larrimore of Lempster were recognized for their years of study and outstanding performances on their recent evaluations.

By international standard, one cannot be considered a full Black Belt until the age of sixteen.  Junior Black Belt levels (denoted by a colored stripe running the length of the belt) allow younger students who have reached this level to continue progressing in the arts.  Calla Baker, age 13, was awarded her 4th Level Junior Black Belt.  Baker has been training since 2009 and has been both a Divisional and Double-Crown State Champion on the Twin State Martial Arts Association tournament circuit.  She also holds 1st Level Black Belt in Kobudo (traditional weapons) and the teaching title of Sempai (Assistant Instructor).

When a Junior Black Belt reaches the age of sixteen, he or she is eligible to test for the equivalent level of Adult Black Belt.  The level of adult grade that a student transitions to is based on their Junior Black Belt level, their total class hours and years of training, the curriculum material they have mastered, and their overall growth and maturity.  Based on these criteria, George Dube was promoted to 3rd Level Black Belt.  He has been training in karate since 2013 and is a Triple-Crown State Champion on the Twin State tournament circuit.  He also holds 1st Level Black Belt in Kobudo (traditional weapons) and the teaching title of Sempai (Assistant Instructor).

Many consider Black Belt to be the pinnacle of martial arts achievement.  In a traditional school, it is the beginning of a lifelong journey – everything before that is simply “getting ready.”  There are ten levels, or “degrees”, of Black Belt.  Having started karate in 2014, Jett Larrimore was promoted to 1st Level Black Belt.

The title of “Sensei” means “instructor.”  To become a licensed karate instructor at Rising Sun Martial Arts, a student must complete a two-year teaching apprenticeship and a three-year assistantship.  Amelia Gallup earned the title of Sensei in 2012.  At the recent ceremony, she was promoted to the teaching grade of Renshi (Senior Instructor).  Gallup, who has been training since 2002, is the first person to earn this title at Rising Sun Martial Arts.  She has been a Twin State Champion twice and has competed across the US in such places as Pennsylvania, New Mexico and California.  Gallup has been named a Competitor of the Year for 2018 by the International Karate Kobudo Federation.

Students testing for their first level of Black Belt are asked to write a Black Belt Essay, reflecting on their years of training.  Jett Larrimore concluded his thus: “Rising Sun Martial Arts, and the study of Goju ryu Karate-do, has been an integral part of my journey into adulthood.  In the half-decade I’ve been part of this community, I’ve made friends and matured as an individual.  I’ve learned the true value of focus and respect, and I’ve gained confidence in myself and my capabilities.  As a Black Belt, I am part of a centuries-old lineage.  The knowledge of our discipline is passed down from teacher to student, with each progressive generation seeking to educate and encourage the next.  It is my duty, and my honor, to join this line, so that one day I may be to a Kohai (younger student) what my instructors were to me.”

(l-r) Jett Larrimore, Sempai Calla Baker and Sempai George Dube were honored at a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 25th, in which they received their next levels of Black Belt.

2018 Summer Open Tournament

Great Day at the 2018 Summer Open tournament in Claremont, NH!  This was held on Saturday, August 11th.

– Kyoshi Brent Baker: 1st in Kobudo, 2nd in Kata
– Sempai Jennifer Boyd: 1st in Kata
– Shidoin Calla Baker: 1st in Kata, 1st in Kumite, 3rd in Kobudo, JR BLACK BELT GRAND CHAMPION!
– Walter A.: 2nd in Kata
– Lily C.: 2nd in Kata, 2nd in Kumite, 5th in Kobudo
– Myah B.: 2nd in Kata, 3rd in Kumite
– Regan R.: 2nd in Kata

Excellent job, everyone! You have represented our dojo very well! Osu!

Image may contain: 7 people, including Rising Sun Martial Arts and Jennifer Boyd, people smiling, people standing, basketball court and indoor


Hanshi Martin Seminars

Hanshi Ron Martin, East Coast Karate Champion, two-time Canadian National Champion, two-time Central American Champion, two-time South American Champion, and instructor of Hanshi-Sei Richie Bernard (my instructor), will be coming to RSMA on Thursday, August 17th, for two sessions only.
     Juniors            5:30-6:30pm     $20
     Adults             7:00-8:30pm     $30
These seminars are open to all RSMA students of the level of Jukyu (Purple Belt) and above.  Students who own sparring gear should bring it – however, sparring gear is not required to participate in the seminars.
Due to the size of the dojo, space is limited.  Please sign up in the office as soon as possible to reserve your spot for this event.
Please also note that students who do not meet dress code requirements will not be permitted to represent our dojo at this event.  Clean uniforms and straight patches are a must!
Hanshi Martin is truly a karate legend.  Don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn from one of karate’s great masters!


Hanshi Martin Visit Flyer

Hanshi-Sei Richard Bernard to Visit on 8/17

On Wednesday, August 17, Hanshi-Sei Richard Bernard will be visiting our dojo to conduct a series of classes.  The schedule for the evening will be as follows…Hanshi II

5:00 – 6:00pm   Advanced Kata Clinic – Invitation Only
6:00 – 6:45pm   Juniors Class – Purple Belt and Above
7:00 – 8:00pm   Teen/Adult Class – Purple Belt and Above

Hanshi-Sei Bernard holds the rank of 10th Degree Black Belt in both Goju Ryu Karate-do and Shorin Ryu Karate-do.  This is a rare opportunity to work with someone of this caliber, so please take advantage of it.

Students are asked to arrive early, so that you can warm up and stretch out a bit before we start.  Also, all students should plan to wear their full uniforms on this evening.  There is no cost for this event.

Hanshi Bernard Visit Flyer



Kung Fu Panda 3 – A Great Success!

On Saturday morning, January 30, Kyoshi Baker rented the theatre for our own private screening of Kung Fu Panda 3!

Our Kung Fu Panda 3 event was a huge success!  We packed the theater, selling 219 tickets!  The crowd was dazzled by a performance of our Demo Team, guests had the opportunity to break boards, some free T-shirts were tossed into the crowd, and there was even a drawing for a free movie poster!  A great time was had by all!!

A personal note from Kyoshi Baker…

Imagine going to the movies, and the theater is packed – but everyone there is either one of your friends or a friend of a friend.  It’s truly a unique experience – and even better when the movie itself is good!  That’s what we experienced this morning.  It was truly remarkable – there was so much going on, but it was all fun, all positive.  A good time really was had by all!

This event would not have happened without the support and participation of a great number of people.  I cannot thank them enough…

The Demo Team: Sensei Amelia G,. Sempai Griffin L., Joseph R., Calla B., Evan M., George D., Walter A., Brandon D., Lilija C., and the Little Ninjas: Brett, Ryker, Oliver, Edson,  Ayden, and Brody.  Even better than I hoped, I couldn’t have asked for a better representation of our dojo!

Cinema manager, Heather W., and her crew at the Claremont Cinema Center.  They were very welcoming, and great to work with.  Even though I’d never rented an entire theater before, Heather made it easy for me to get things done.  A great group of people!

Volunteers at the Theater: Charlotte A. was our greeter; Michelle D. and Jeff L. ran the ticket counter; Scott A., Jeff D., and Jen L. ran the board-breaking station; Chris G. managed the theater entryway.  It was a huge help to know that these roles were in capable hands – it freed me up to run the demo and take care of organizational details.  Things wouldn’t have run anywhere near as smoothly without each of you!

Finally, I want to thank all of the students, families, and friends for your support.  It was our goal to fill the theater – something that I wasn’t sure we could do early on a Saturday morning – and we made it happen!  Everyone who was there today (and even some who were not) had a hand in making that happen.  I am humbled and truly grateful.

Domo arigato gozaimasu – Thank you very much!

Kyoshi Baker

Thank you for joining us!!


Now that you’ve seen the movie, we invite you to come and try out the martial arts for yourself…

All guests received a VIP Pass for a free month of karate lessons.  Just contact our office at (603) 863-0655 OR info@risingsundojo.com for more information or to start your martial arts journey!

Fall 2015 Black Belt Promotions

17 Oct 2015 ceremony

(l-r) Tim Cunningham, Griffin LaBrie, Calla Baker, Joseph Renaud, Michael Hebert. At the recent Black Belt promotion ceremony, Griffin was promoted to 5th Degree Junior Black Belt. He and Tim were both awarded the teaching level of Sempai (assistant instructor). Joseph and Michael earned their adult-grade 1st Degree Black Belt, and Calla earned her 1st Degree Junior Black Belt. All train at Rising Sun Martial Arts in Newport, NH.

Friends and families gathered on Saturday to witness four students earn Black Belt ranking at Rising Sun Martial Arts. At a gathering of martial artists representing over 80 years of combined experience in the martial arts, Calla Baker and Michael Hebert of Newport, Griffin LaBrie of Claremont, and Joseph Renaud of Weathersfield, VT, received promotions based on years of hard work and dedication.

Griffin LaBrie has been training since April of 2007. He was promoted to 5th Degree Junior Black Belt; only the third person at Rising Sun Martial Arts to attain this level. “Karate has enabled me to realize that reaching high levels of achievement are within my reach and I can accomplish anything I set my mind and spirit to by keeping my focus and determination,” said Griffin, when asked what karate training has done for him. He was also recognized for his commitment and skill in teaching karate. Kyoshi Brent Baker, director and lead instructor at Rising Sun, mentioned how LaBrie was his “strong right arm” in teaching the Juniors’ classes throughout the summer months and how the younger students looked up to him as a positive role model. Griffin was awarded the teaching level of Sempai (Assistant Instructor) – a step up from the Apprentice Instructor level that he had previously held. In response to the question of what a Black Belt means to him, LaBrie replied, “It means [taking] responsibility for not just me, but others too.”

The youngest of the group who were tested on the 10th (in an exhaustive three-hour examination), Calla Baker was promoted to the level of 1st Degree Junior Black Belt. A fifth grader, Calla has been training since the age of three, moving up from the school’s “Little Ninjas” preschool program to the Juniors program. Now, after six years of training, she is finally allowed to wear a Black Belt. “I take karate because it teaches me how to defend myself,” she explained. “It lets me stop thinking about what a terrible day I’ve had or how mean someone was. I can just learn, be with nice people and friends, doing something I love – something that it fun and gives me a challenge.” When asked about the Black Belt test, Calla replied, “I had to work hard. I had to push myself harder than I ever did and I passed! It was all worth it!” In addition to studying karate, Calla assists in teaching the Little Ninjas preschool karate program.

By international standard, one must be at least sixteen years old in order to wear an adult-grade Black Belt. Statistically, less than 2% of all the people who start training in karate reach this goal. Michael Hebert and Joseph Renaud are two young men who beat those odds, earning the level of 1st Degree Black Belt. With approximately seven years of training between them, Joseph and Michael trained hard and remained committed, overcoming obstacles and pushing back their limits. In terms of what being a Black Belt means to him, Michael states, “The lower ranks look up to you. You should have patience and a will to get the best out of yourself. You need to have proper respect and discipline for what you are and [for] those around you.” Joseph echoed this sentiment: “When I look at the lower belts, it encourages me to keep going as I am an example to them.”

In addition to those students earning their Black Belt ranking, Timothy Cunningham of New London was also recognized for his work as an instructor at Rising Sun Martial Arts, and for being a positive role model – especially for the students coming up the ranks behind him. Tim was upgraded from the level of Shidoin (Apprentice Instructor) to that of Sempai (Assistant Instructor). The next teaching level Tim and Griffin will be eligible for is that of full Sensei (Instructor).

The feeling at the end of the ceremony was one of joy and accomplishment. Each of these young people is aware of the responsibility that comes with wearing a Black Belt, but their teachers have no doubt that they will live up to this responsibility. And how does it feel to earn one’s Black Belt? Calla summed it up in just one word: “Amazing!”


Congratulations, New Kobudo Black Belts!

Two students tested for the level of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in Kobudo (traditional weapons) at the International Karate Kobudo Federation’s 31st Annual Training, July 10-12, 2015.

Shidoin Timothy Cunningham and Sempai John Cunningham were evaluated for rank on Friday evening, after a six-hour seminar.  The young men were required to demonstrate eight different kata (forms), across four different weapons (bo, tunfa, sai, and nunchaku).  They were then expected to perform bunkai for a kata of their choice.  The term “bunkai” means “analysis” – the testing candidate is expected to study his/her kata and develop a reasonable idea of how the techniques within the form could be applied in a self-defense situation, and then demonstrate his/her analysis against a partner.  For their bunkai kata, Tim selected the kata Odo no Nunchaku and John chose the kata Ko Bo.

(l-r) Sempai John Cunningham, Sensei Amelia Gallup, Shidoin Timothy Cunningham at the IKKF Annual Training Banquet. Tim and John are holding their Shodan rank certificates.


On Saturday evening, at the Annual Banquet, Tim and John were promoted to the level of Shodan by Hanshi C. Bruce Heilman, the president of the IKKF.  They received their official rank certificates and a patch for their Black Belts to indicate their status in Kobudo.

(l-r) Shidoin Tim Cunningham, Hanshi C. Bruce Heilman, Hanshi Ann-Marie Heilman.

(l-r) Shidoin Tim Cunningham, Hanshi C. Bruce Heilman, Hanshi Ann-Marie Heilman.

(l-r) Sempai John Cunningham, Hanshi C. Bruce Heilman, Hanshi Ann-Marie Heilman.

(l-r) Sempai John Cunningham, Hanshi C. Bruce Heilman, Hanshi Ann-Marie Heilman.

Both Tim and John have been leaders in our dojo, often teaching on both karate and kobudo.  They are both athletes, honor-roll students, and excellent role models for the lower ranks.  We are very proud of them both!

Congratulations, Tim and John!!


Karate Summer Camp

Karate Camp is a great opportunity for kids aged 7 through 14 to experience traditional karate training in a fun, safe environment.  Participants will be exposed to traditional karate techniques, basic self-defense, and fund games and exercises.

Camp runs from 9am until noon during the week of August 3-7, 2015.  Cost is $100 (a deposit of $25 reserves your space).  Special discount – bring a friend and get 10% off!*  Space is limited, so register soon!

Summer Camp – Registration Form 2015


*To qualify, your friend must not currently be a member of Rising Sun Martial Arts.  The discount is  10% off for each friend that you bring – bring 10 friends and attend camp for free!!