FREDERICKTOWN — The population of Waterford, Ohio boomed on Saturday evening as martial artists from around a multi-state area converged for the 2018 awards banquet of the United Promoters Martial Arts Circuit (U.P.M.A.C.).

Gathering to celebrate the accomplishments of the year, the ceremony brought together countless friends to talk throughout the evening and dine before the awards were presented. U.P.M.A.C. represents upwards of 40 different schools from eight states and Canada with over 850 competitors from varying disciplines of the arts.

While many schools traveled from afar, most of the students from local dojo, Mid Ohio Karate 4 Kids, had a much shorter drive. Mid-Ohio, at 155 N. Main St. in Fredericktown, is operated by Master Jacques Tarr, Eighth Degree Blackbelt. His dojo is home to 66 of the National Champions that were recognized this past Saturday.

Known as the “Soaring Eagles Competition Team,” the martial artists from Fredericktown traveled thousands of miles in 2018 to achieve these accomplishments.

“We have students at our school from several places in Knox County, Richland, and Crawford counties,” said spokesman Jason Bostic.

Master Tarr, who also serves as the UPMAC Circuit Director, was flanked by other U.P.M.A.C. National promoters at the head table throughout the evening. As the event moved into the awards portion, pairs of promoters came forward to help present the National level titles that each competitor earned.

As the group of masters and grandmasters with nearly 600 years combined martial arts experience spoke of stories, advice, memories, and shared knowledge on Saturday night, the emotions were many at times. 

With their awards by division completed, the final piece of the evening focused on the overall effort of the martial artists. The Black Belt and Under Black Belt Competitor of 2018 took into consideration a martial artists entire year, training, and competition.

Competitors from the Fredericktown-based school piled on many awards out of the 136 total divisions in the circuit, but it was two special awards that the school also brought home.

The Under Black Belt Competitor of the Year was Madison Shade. Madison, 10 years old, currently holds the rank of a green belt and attends Fredericktown Schools.

Black Belt Competitor of the Year went to Brandon Farmer, 12 years old, attends Lakeview Junior High School in Pickerington. Brandon earned his black belt rank at the age of 11. 

Mid-Ohio Karate 4 Kids opened in Fredericktown since 2012, but has been in operation since 1984. The long tradition of success from the Mid-Ohio group is nothing new in the continually growing school.

Decades of National level titles in several circuits are held from students taught by Master Tarr, but even further his school is home to five world champions. Having competed in Hungary, Great Britain, and Canada, the students have many opportunities to showcase their talents. 

Teaching three styles of martial arts, the school focuses on kids, but has numerous adults who attend and compete as well.

Local sports are brought to you by Conway's Pharmacy in Mount Vernon and Danville.

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