Pandemic postpones Thomas sisters’ black belt tests

Chloe Brown

Sophomore Christina Thomas and senior Cheyenne Thomas have practiced karate at Red Cape Martial Arts since 2015, but Cheyenne’s interest started long before.

“I have always wanted to try a class and earn the belts, but my mom thought I was too small and fragile,” Thomas said. “But then my mom decided that I needed to learn self defense and once I tried my first class, I fell in love.”

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  • Senior Cheyenne Thomas practices karate while her sister sophomore Christina Thomas watches.

  • Sophomore Christina Thomas works on karate.

  • Freshman Anthony Tolley, who also practices karate at Red Cape Martial Arts, photographs senior Cheyenne Thomas.

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Both sisters were scheduled to take their black belt tests in April, but due to COVID-19, the tests were postponed.

“I was disappointed,” Cheyenne said. “But I understand. It is impossible to stay six feet apart and rest or do it in a safe manner during the quarantine and I want all of my friends and teachers to be safe.”

Now at home, they continue preparing for the test, which includes self defense, fitness, kicks, open hand forms and weapons forms.

“I have to admit my black belt test being postponed kind of made me weary to continue training during this time because I worked so hard for it,” Christina added. “I got passed that though, because I knew I needed to continue to get stronger than before.”

Despite this change in plans, they still get overjoyed when thinking of karate.

“It’s a really fun environment where I’m not afraid to learn or do something new,” Christina said. “When competing, it’s like a rush. Everything goes by quickly. My heart is pumping, I am surrounded by my teammates, and I only get one shot to prove myself and why I deserve first place to the judges.”

Cheyenne added: “Karate teaches you discipline and patience. Also, working out gets your blood pumping… It teaches you to be proud of yourself because you learn and do things you never thought you would be able to do… You also get the satisfaction of knowing you can defend yourself and gives you a sense of security.”

Their passion for karate extends beyond the activity itself to the friendship it provides them.

“I have also met a ton of amazing people through karate. It is like a little family and I love it so much,” Cheyenne said.

They have maintained their contact with their karate community during the pandemic.

“The people I have met have been some of the most supportive people, and they push me to do the best I can even if I don’t think I can do something,” Christina said. “To not see my friends at practice has been kinda challenging, but like everything else, I have adapted.”