Master Kim’s Black Belt Academy students earn black belts

Front row left to right: Bennett Tilton, Korina Zambrano, Matthew Pavelko-Fox, Robert Posenauer
Back row left to right: Jake Mc Cann, Master Kurt G. Miller(Owner of The Academy), Mark Van Horn
Front row left to right: Bennett Tilton, Korina Zambrano, Matthew Pavelko-Fox, Robert Posenauer Back row left to right: Jake Mc Cann, Master Kurt G. Miller(Owner of The Academy), Mark Van Horn Courtesy Of Master Kims Black Belt Academy

It was a time that they were waiting for. Each person was thrilled and anxious at the same time. “What day? What time?” you may ask? It was the week end that they were testing for their Black Belts at Master Kim’s Black Belt Academy in Bechtelsville.

On Saturday, Aug. 8 and Sunday, Aug. 9, Mark Van Horn, Matthew Pavelko-Fox, Korina Zambrano, Robert Posenauer, Jake Mc Cann, and Bennett Tilton were promoted to the next level at The Academy.

Mark Van Horn was promoted to third degree; Korina Zambrano and Matthew Pavelko-Fox earned their second degree; and Jake Mc Cann, Robert Posenauer, and Bennett Tilton passed their first degree Black Belt test. The group ranged in ages from 13 to 60 years of age.

Just like every other Black Belt test at The Academy, it was an overnight ordeal which was designed to make use of all of the physical and mental attributes they learned during their years of training.


The evening session started at 7:00 pm Friday evening and lasted until around 2:30 am Saturday. After a few precious few hours of rest, the group was at it again by 6 a.m. The promotion was over and done by 9:30 Saturday morning. When all was said and done, there were three new Black Belts (Bennett Tilton, Robert Posenauer, Jake Mc Cann), two second degree Black Belts(Matthew Pavelko- Fox, Korina Zambrano), and one third degree Black Belt(Mark Van Horn) from Master Kim’s Black Belt Academy.

During the evening session everyone was fresh and energized and their skills looked sharp and crisp. Master Kurt G. Miller (Owner of The Academy) conducted the test and observed their performances with a keen eye. The first thing on the agenda was forms. Everyone was required to know all of their forms and meanings of the forms from day one of their training up to the current time. As the night progressed the students also broke boards, sparred, grappled, and went over various self-defense situations. At the end of the night, everyone read essays that they prepared for this special event.

By 2:30 a.m. everyone was ready to crash out and get rested for the remainder of the test. The alarm went off promptly at 5:30, and everyone was awake and ready to go out for an early morning run by 6:00am. When the morning run was completed, the tired group had a little time to stretch out and get ready for the remainder of the exam.

At 7 a.m. everyone was ready for the final portion of the exam. Parents, relatives and friends were welcome to watch the Saturday morning portion of the final exam. At this time there was an exhausted, but determined group of students, ready to put the finishing touches on their overnight testing ordeal. Again, they were put through the mill to show their skills. This time around, their skill level dropped a bit due to physical and mental exhaustion. This was the time everyone had to dig deep and rely on their mental discipline and perseverance to get through the remaining portion of their promotion test.

It wasn’t easy, but everyone stuck together and supported each other until the last punch and kick were thrown, and the last board was broken.

Master Miller commented that “All of my students did a remarkable job during a very difficult testing format. Sure, they were tired and exhausted, but they all stuck together and bonded during some challenging moments. Every Black Belt test is a different and unique experience. There is a different group of people testing each time, and they all come away with an experience that they will cherish and remember for the rest of their lives. I was very proud of how my students reacted during some difficult moments. They all supported each other every step of the way. That’s an important part of what earning a Black Belt is all about.”

You can see some awesome pictures and videos from the Saturday morning session on our Facebook page. It will give you a small taste of what it takes to become a black Belt.