Local martial artists advance

AKEA student Stormy Byrd demonstrates her bo skills during the Auburn dojo
AKEA student Stormy Byrd demonstrates her bo skills during the Auburn dojo's advancement ceremony.
— image credit: Shawn Skager/Reporter

Auburn's American Karate Escrima Association hosted an advancement ceremony and demonstration for students moving up in weapons system training this past Saturday at Game Farm Wilderness Park in Auburn.

Fifteen adults and youth received belt ranking advancements in the American Kenpo Karate and Weapons system, which AKEA offers its students in addition to the traditional martial arts style it teaches.

For the past week, Dr. Crayton Moss, a seventh-degree blackbelt shihan who travels annually to Auburn from the Midwest to help with training and ranking, and Auburn dojo's head instructor, Glenn Harmaning, himself a seventh-degree shihan, taught the students and evaluated them in their use of ancient martial arts weapons like the bo staff and sai.

"Training with ancient weapons gives us a way of viewing everyday items as a weapon," said Cindy Barnette, a second-degree black belt and instructor at the school. "For people that enjoy martial arts and history, it definitely gives us a lineage to these weapons."

Earning rankings were youth students Sebastian Hutton (green belt), Stormy Byrd (green) and Joshua Hales (yellow). Also recognized were Daniel Miller, Michael Ling and Nicole Ling.

For the adults, Greg Laurel (yellow), Todd Carter (yellow), Jessica Happenny (blue), Rick Wittwer (blue), Aaron Gonzalez (purple), Michelle Jensen (third-degree brown), Josh Jordan (third-degree black and title of sensei), Craig Moore (second-degree black) and Tyson Bailey (fourth-degree black) all advanced.

"To have someone like Dr. Moss to train with is a rare treat," Barnette said. "Most of us in our lifetime don't get a chance to train with someone like that. Anybody can call themselves a martial artist. You can watch YouTube and learn something that's really cool. You can call yourself a fifth-degree black belt and put it in the window of your shop, but who really ranked you to that? Both Moss and Harmaning were ranked by a board of 10th-degree black belts who rank people nationally."

The AKEA students will put on a weapons demonstration on Aug. 25 at the Auburn International Farmers Market.

For more information on the school, visit

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