HOUGHTON — A young Keweenaw girl is celebrating an achievement as she enters a martial arts ranking system.
Flora Reitz is a student at Keweenaw Jiu Jitsu. She has recently earned her grey and white belt, and she is the first child under the age of 15 to receive a belt from the academy.
The 8 year-old has been studying martial arts for some time before adding Jiu Jitsu to her training.
“She’s been with us for a little over six months. She’s been training Jiu Jitsu overall for year and a half and she’s also trained karate in the past, so this is a good transition,” said Keweenaw Jiu Jitsu head coach Stan Myaskovskiy.
He said that the academy recently became eligible to participate in the children’s belt ranking system and he expects that other students will soon be sharing Flora’s new status.
“This builds confidence, it builds discipline. You know the goal is to never actually use this in the street but just knowing that you can defend yourself gives you a confidence unlike anything else,” he said.
When asked if she’s ever had to use her self defense training, Flora replied, “Well, I have had to get out of chokes from my brother. He likes to try to get me, and we like to wrestle.”
She also says that she’s looking forward to earning many more belts as part of the program.