Stephanie Bruno (center) of Fair Haven Vt. receives Shodan First Degree Black Belt.
WEST RUTLAND — On Saturday, Jan. 17, Rick Smith, owner and head instructor at Legend Gates Shotokan Karate, and a panel of nine other Black Belts promoted Stephanie Bruno of Fair Haven Vt. to be the first ever Female Shodan First Degree Black Belt in the 25 years the Legend has been in Vermont. It was an historic accomplishment as many woman have joined as members since 1990, and a few have received Brown and High Brown belt statuses, but none ever tested for Black Belt in Vermont until now.
Bruno tested hard for six weeks. She now fights like a Martial Artists and will continue to train as such. She has now “graduated High School” as Smith calls it and is starting “College” where “she will truly start to learn Martial Arts inside and out,” Smith said.
Also promoted, Jan. 17, was Rick Smith and Jay Bruno, who we were promoted by O’Sensei Rick Lenchus and Hanshi James Keller to Renshi level Masters Degree.
“This is like getting your B.A., then your Graduates degree then comes Doctorates in a manner of speaking, or the Hanshi, Grandmaster levels,” Smith explained.
Legend Gates Karate is a non-profit Martial Arts Dojo for the public. It is located at the West Rutland Town Hall open every Tuesday and Friday 4:30-6 p.m. The first two weeks are free to try. For more information call 802-438-2750.