Michael Smith, the owner of Ekim’s Karate, Kick Boxing, and MMA received a 7th Degree Black Belt. The award was presented by his teacher, Nick Tarpein.

Smith has been involved with Karate for 40 years and has overcome a lot of obstacles, like a severe knee injury that required surgery.

His teacher was very proud to present Smith with the honor and it was an emotional moment for both. Very few people get promoted to a 7th Degree, and Tarpein has now only awarded it to two students.

The highest Degree to achieve is a 10th Degree Black Belt and Smith estimates he has about 15 years to receive the ultimate honor.