Avantika Naik is just one Ranger who has climbed the Black Belt ladder. Last January, she was awarded her Third Degree Black Belt at the PBK Black Belt Spectacular.
She has come a long way since joining the Personal Best in Foxboro when she was five. "My parents wanted me to learn self-defense," she recalled."I just loved everything about it."
Her favorite part of her training is the sparring program. "I love sparring because you get to choose the techniques - you have to decide in the moment whether to move forward or find an opening," she explained. "It incorporates stamina, reaction and thought process."
She's been fighting since she was two
Posted: September 17, 2018
The powerhouse Grace Jarboe is an 11-year old natural-born fighter. Yes, she just earned her 1st Degree Black Belt in June. Yes, she is currently a lacrosse and ice hockey player. And, yes, she fought cancer and won - but she did that when she was 4 years old.
A conversation no parents wants to have with their pediatrician, Grace was diagnosed with Bilateral Wilms Tumor when she was two years, nine-months old. A form of kidney cancer, Grace went through treatments until she was four and continues with scans. Though she has since recovered, Grace was left with the use of only 80 percent of one kidney.
St. Jude's Hospital was such an integral part of her journey, that when choosing a charity for the charitable giving portion of their Black Belt Training Cycle, the class elected to donate to the organization. "If it wasn't for St. Jude's I wouldn't be here," she said emphatically.
Listening made this teacher his best
Posted: September 05, 2018
Matt Drain was eight years old when he started karate classes at the Personal Best Karate in Foxboro. His father was a martial artist, but it was really a cartoon that promised Matt the life he wanted.
“I saw the cartoon ‘Samurai Jack’ and was amazed that despite his own weaknesses and faults he could overcome both emotional and physical danger,” Matt explained. “I desperately wanted to be like Jack – I was emotional and uncoordinated. I wanted to be stronger and better able to handle my feelings as I was often the smallest and least mature of my peers.”
Matt immediately fell in love with the PBK environment and camaraderie. He also grew interested in the history of martial arts. He recognized the need and simplicity for the movements the students are taught. “For example, forms are not just forms,” Matt said. “They are what people were taught for years to honor their history.”
PBK Teen Leadership Team ready for new year
Posted: August 30, 2018
The Personal Best Karate Teen Leadership Team has been quite busy since forming this past spring. They have already met a few times, established their peer support sessions and held their first charitable fundraiser.
Being on the ground floor of this team sure to have longevity has been very rewarding, said Team Director Paul Relyea, a student at the Personal Best Karate School in Foxboro and one of the founding Board members. "We really want to offer teens the opportunities to lead in fun and impactful events in the community," he explained.
"(Founder) Master Christopher Rappold and I spoke about creating the group and what we could offer for the members," Relyea said. The vision of the group was to create a social atmosphere but still be the support for each other. "We facilitate meetings where kids can bring their problems and we work together to offer our support," said Relyea.