Two locals earn black belt promotions

Master Dan Kreitzbender, of Hamburg, and sensei Bill Matteson held a highly prestigious evaluation and promotion ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 9 for sensei Timmy Smith and sensei Garrett Catanese.

Smith, a 13-year old who attends Dunkirk Middle School, and Catanese, a 12-year-old who attends Cassadaga Valley middle school, were both promoted to First Degree Junior Black Belt.

The newly-anointed black belts under went an intense review from Grand Master Galati, Master Dan Genovese, as well as Kreitzbender, as they qualified for promotion through the Fudozan Shorinji Kempo Karate system.

Smith and Catanese were tested on their weapons, kata forms, Jujitsu, self-defense, fighting and ability to endure pressure.

Matteson applauded Smith and Catanese for being huge supports in the community outreach fundraisers that have supported such causes as Roswell Park cancer research and helping underprivileged children.

“Their promotion was very emotional and long coming,” Matteson said.