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AMA of Portage students earn medals at Diamond Martial Arts tournament

At Achievement Martial Arts academy Portage Monday June 3 (left right) Xavier Taylor 7 Anais Lule 7 Izamar Lule 12

At Achievement Martial Arts academy in Portage on Monday, June 3, (left to right) Xavier Taylor, 7, Anais Lule, 7, Izamar Lule, 12, Isaiah Leal, 11, Noah Hornyak, 11, and Sonny McMillian, 7, pose with the medals they earned at a recent tournament. In the back row are instructors Aaron Johnson and Micah Moore.

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Updated: July 7, 2013 1:03PM



They recently earned top awards at a martial arts tournament. Yet the young Portage-area residents had more to say about the confidence, discipline and skills that they’ve learned and look to apply to other facets of life.

At the Diamond Martial Arts tournament May 19 in Westville, several Achievement Martial Arts of Portage students distinguished themselves by earning medals in forms and sparring.

AMA owner and chief instructor Aaron Johnson said that the pre-teen students excelled at the event, though it was the first tournament for most of them.

Anais Lule, 7, Sonny McMillian, 7, Xavier Taylor, 7, Noah Hornyak, 11, Isaiah Leal, 11, and Izamar Lule, 12, each earned medals.

“The two things I stress a lot are the discipline of focus and self defense,” said Johnson, a third degree black belt and MMA fighter.

On the Saturday before the tournament, AMA instructors led the youths through an extra class.

Hornyak, a Level 3 brown belt who’s working toward his black belt, said he was initially nervous when he entered the tournament. He explained that he gained confidence as the event went on and, by the time he was competing, he “felt a little bit of both” while “keeping the pace I was trained to do.”

Leal had his safety and well being in mind when he asked to join martial arts classes. He wore his medals to class: a second place for sparring and third place for forms.

“The reason I came to martial arts is because I was bullied when I was younger,” said Leal, who wished to be identified as autistic. “I’ve finally earned my black belt. It’s really an honor to be here…. that is my story.”

The Lule sisters looked on as a parent sang the praises of the school’s training.

“(The instructors) are very, very patient ,” said Melissa Taylor, who attends class with her sons Alyzhia, Xavier and Sonny. “All the kids in general have the utmost respect for them.”

Last call for Patriots Pop Warner registration: The Northlake Patriots Pop Warner club will offer one final registration event for its 2013 football, cheer and dance programs at Pulaski Park (139 Sheffield Ave., Hammond) from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

All prospective players must bring a copy of their birth certificate. Weigh-ins, measuring and fittings will take place on site. Fees start at $125 for one child, with a $75 fundraising fee and $50 jersey fee for new players.

For more information, call 588-6076, or 473-2915, or visit eteamz.com/northlakepatriotspopwarner.



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