Graves’ students win trophies
BUCKSPORT — Over three dozen martial arts students from local branches of Graves’ Institute of Self Defense recently traveled to mid-Maine to compete in a state-wide invitational Karate and Ju-Jitsu tournament.
MARTIAL ARTS WINNERS — These students from the Graves Institute of Self Defense won trophies at a recent tournament held in Bucksport. In front from left are Paige O’Bar, Nick Sokolich, Cassidy Moore, Mitchell Gray, Cole Gray and Gunner Gray. Back row, Senseis Jay Peavey and John Sanders, head instructor Bill Graves and Senseis Mitch Wheeler and Malcolm Grant. Absent when photo was taken were Chloe Wheeler, Hannah O’Neil, Felicia DeMerchant, Wesley DeMerchant, Patrick DeMerchant, Jenna Rand and Seth Rand.
Men, women, and children between age 6 to over 60 who study the art of Ketsugo in the Presque Isle, Caribou, Fort Fairfield and Mars Hill dojos made the trip to display their fighting and throwing skills.
Grand Master Bill Graves and 18 certified 1st to 8th degree black belts train students at seven Aroostook and one Canadian school. Ketsugo, a combined martial arts style combining karate, judo, aikido, ju-sitsu, savate and self defense, appeals to a wide range of people, particularly youngsters and women.
Tournament events in which regional Graves’ students participate include point sparring, form kata, ju-jitsu, and power impactor. Sparring matches are two minute or three point single elimination rounds with opponents selected by age, height, weight, gender and belt color which connotes experience level. To reach the trophy round, the fighter often must win a minimum of five or six matches.
Several families enjoyed the unique reward of multiple wins from the same clan. Sensei Mitch Wheeler of the Mars Hill dojo won a first in fighting while daughter Chloe brought home a second in girls maxi- pee wee brown belt sparring. Jenna and Seth Rand, siblings in the Presque Isle branch, each won a fighting trophy as well.
Mitchell, Cole and Gunner Gray of the Presque Isle and Fort Fairfield dojos pulled off the rare feat of having three brothers all taking home a sparring award. They won a third, first and second place, respectively. The Demerchant family of Perth-Andover also won three fighting trophies, a first and two seconds for the parents, Felicia and Wesley, and for son, Patrick.
All of the Graves students enjoyed the day and the fine completion and are already preparing for their next event next month.
Readers interested in viewing a martial arts class or learning self defense are welcome to contact Sensei Bill Graves at 551-5777 for times, places and information about several ongoing year-around classes.