Ariely Santana, 10, is Siler City’s newest black belt

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 6/24/20

SILER CITY — The Iron Hand Hapkido School has another black belt in its ranks.

Ariely Santana, 10, officially received her junior black belt in May after passing her exam earlier in the spring. …

The News + Record is worth reading!

We’re all about Chatham County, and we welcome you to our site. You can view up to 3 stories each month, then registration is required.

Please sign in below if you have an account. If not, please register here to get an account and an additional 7 stories each month. It’s easy and takes just a minute.

Our staff works hard to bring good journalism, writing and story-telling to Chatham County. HELP US! You can get the News + Record mailed to you weekly by subscribing here.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Ariely Santana, 10, is Siler City’s newest black belt

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.

Posted

SILER CITY — The Iron Hand Hapkido School has another black belt in its ranks.

Ariely Santana, 10, officially received her junior black belt in May after passing her exam earlier in the spring. The honor was jointly presented by Larry Mabe, the head instructor and operator of the school, and Edna Santana, Ariely’s cousin who earned her own black belt in January.

Santana, who lives in Siler City, started working with Mabe when she was 7 years old. Over the next three years, she spent most of her Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Iron Hand Hapkido School, located at 223 E. Raleigh St., training for three hours a week.

“To keep a kid in karate for three years, it’s tough,” Mabe said.

But that wasn’t a problem at all with Santana, whom he described as “dedicated to the art of Hapkido” with a “good attitude” and a natural ability to work well with other students.

At her black belt exam on March 10, Santana had to properly execute about 50 techniques, among them takedowns, rolls, stick defense and knife defense.

The only reason her black belt ceremony was delayed over two months from then? The coronavirus pandemic, which also forced Mabe, 67, to temporarily close the school he opened in 2013. When Santana finally got the honor, Mabe said she was plenty excited.

“It was really a big thing for her,” he said.

In a release provided by Mabe, who has a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido and 5th degree black belt in Taekwondo, Santana said the black belt “symbolizes a great achievement” and thanked Mabe and her mother, who brought her to and from classes.

“After three years of training, all the hard work has paid off,” she said in the release.

Santana was the 12th black belt Mabe has instructed in his 36 years of martial arts training. The “junior” title on Santana’s black belt, he said, is only because of her age, and doesn’t indicate anything lesser than the standard honor.

“Once you’re a blackbelt,” he said, “you’re always a blackbelt.”

Reporter Chapel Fowler can be reached at cfowler@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment