Vernon Valley Karate Academy announces black belt promotions

VERNON. A total of 16 students were promoted during the ceremony.

Vernon /
| 05 Jul 2022 | 11:14

On Sunday, June 5, 16 students from the Vernon Valley Karate Academy put their skills, strength, and determination on the line as they tested for black belt rank.

According to a school press release, each student demonstrated proficiency in all of the necessary aspects of this martial art. This included performing kata, prearranged forms that demonstrate karate technique, kumite, sparring against other black belt level students, and application of their skills in self-defense situations.

Sensei Tom Shull, owner and head instructor at the Vernon school, commented, “All of my candidates rose to the occasion and made me so very proud. After years of preparation and commitment, these students found that they have what it takes to achieve the coveted rank of black belt. I praise their commitment, devotion, spirit, and strength.”

Promoted to the rank of Shodan (first degree black belt) were CJ Hintzen, Ed Lyden, Ryan Rieger, Braden Rosario, Christian Stone, Alicia Warner, Samantha Wolujczyk, Wade Riley, and Scott Wolven.

Promoted to Nidan (second degree black belt) were Tyler Douglass, Rachel Olinski, Scott Riley, Connor Shillcock, and Tayler Schoenfeld.

Promoted to the rank of Yondan (fourth degree black belt) was Monica McGovern. Promoted to the rank of Godan (fifth degree black belt) was Jillian Vazquez.

Also promoted to the rank of Shodan (first degree black belt) in Kobudo (Okinawan weapons) was Rachel Olinski.

For more information about the Vernon Valley Karate Academy, located at 5-D Theta Drive, visit, email or call 973-764-3104.