When Kevin Jewell, a 2007 TPS Proud graduate of Bowsher High School, signs emails, he puts the word Sensei before his name.

Behind that simple word is a lot of hard work and effort that has made Mr. Jewell a force to be reckoned with in martial arts tournaments.

The current Owens Community College student started his martial arts career in October, 2013 with the combative Hapkido art form called Chukido-Kwan Combat Systems. A month later, he started American Karate. Over the next year, he trained extensively for the black belt test in Chukido-Kwan. In June of 2015, Mr. Jewell tested for his black belt - the shortest time frame that anyone has gone from a white to black belt.

"The Chukido-Kwan black belt test is a 12-hour long physical and mental test," Mr. Jewell says. "The test consists of a 10 kilometer run, 1,500 consecutive jumping jacks, 2,500 consecutive kicks, and 3-4 hours of conditioning training. After that we had to show all the techniques from white belt to black belt ... [and then] had fight off every black belt who was in attendance for one minute ... The last obstacle to overcome was an 1 hour and 15 minute wide squat hold. Through all of that I finished the test with flying colors."

After earning his black belt in Chukido-Kwan, Mr. Jewell started training for his black belt test in Karate and started competing in martial arts tournaments.

He remembers: "My first year of competing, in 2015, I [ranked first] in Heavyweight Continuous Sparring division in the country and Number Two in the world in the World Karate and Kickboxing Commission (WKC) circuit. This year, I qualified and was chosen by the United States Commission as a Number One contender for Continuous Sparring and as a Number Three contender for speed fighting divisions to compete against 30-plus other countries for the gold medal. I ended the world tournament ranked in second place ... in the Continuous Sparring division."

Mr. Jewell is currently working on obtaining an associate and then a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science with plans to then pursue a master's degree in nutrition. In addition to his studies and his martial arts career, Mr. Jewell works at a special needs daycare called Sensational Kids Daycare and Learning Center.

Posted on January 13, 2017