Mar 12, 2018 - Photos of the Week

Photo of the Week: Congratulations, Growler!

Chris Grau Achieves Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate Black Belt

Chris “Growler” Grau, a 4th Dan Karate Institute of America Black Belt, accomplished another martial arts milestone on Sunday, 4 March 2018, by achieving his 1st Dan Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate Black Belt.

Growler (back row, foreground) preparing for a bo kata

Growler, the 36th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu, who achieved his 1st Dan KIA ranking on 26 August 1995 at age 18, continued his martial arts journey via the interest of his elder daughter Kaylee when she started studying at age 4. She’s now 9.

Growler receiving his 1st Dan ranking in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate

The ceremonial tying of Growler’s Black Belt

In reflection of the 3 years and 9 months of his Okinawan Shorin Ryu karate studies, Grower states:

As one would expect, I’ve developed a strong bond with those I train with. I’ve attended training camps where I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from masters of different martial arts. Even before earning my black belt, I rose to a leadership position in the dojo, always helping to run classes and occasionally teaching classes myself.

I was remarking to Christa [his wife] the other day how I’ve convinced others to join the dojo, not through any deliberate advertising, but just by being myself. They have seen how I carry myself and how I train and have wanted that for themselves or their children.

My black belt test was about nine and a half hours, starting at six in the morning. The test encompasses calisthenics, combination drills, bag work, self-defense drills, sparring, weapons, and finally kata. It is an understatement to say that it is exhausting. It pushes you past your limits.

Chris poses with Mr. and Mrs. Grau, his wife Christa and daughters Kaylee and Brenna. Nice family photo in a happy moment!

How proud all of us at the KIA are of you, Growler, and your newest accomplishment. I’m sure there will be many more milestones for you in this life.