My 4th degreee Black Belt ceremony on July 8th, 2017, 3rd degree Black Belt test on November 10, 2013, 2nd degree Black Belt test on April 9, 2011 and my Black Belt Test on May 16, 2009


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  As a kid, I took Judo for 3 years and later, took Tae Kwondo karate for a year. In 1999-2000, I began to check out the many martial arts studios in the area. One name kept coming up over and over again. It was Faustini's in Oradell. I visited the school, liked the people I met, and signed up for a three month introductory period.

Faustini's Institute of Martial Arts (FIMA) is not a Tae Kwondo karate school. FIMA is a school of Jujitsu self defense and a school of Tae Kwando. Techniques within the system are explosive, effective, and efficient and incorporate Judo, Karate, and other forms of martial arts. Sensei, Richard Faustini, has been training students for over 30 years. Sensei Faustini is personally involved in working with the students. The school is located at 200 Kinderkamack Rd, Emerson.

All students are actually enrolled in the school of Jujitsu. While they are training for belts in Jujitsu, they can also graduate with belts in karate. In the adult program, a person could get a black belt in Tae Kwondo karate in about 4 or 5 years. A black belt in Jujitsu takes about 9 to 10 years of study. I did not want to learn the katas (karate katas are executed as a specified series of approximately 15 to 25 moves, with stepping and turning, while attempting to maintain perfect form. The practitioner "visualizes" the enemy attacks and their responses.)

Our school trains us in self defense. We learn to parry attacks, break bones, dislocate joints, and in the extreme, kill our attackers. The training is intense. We are attacked with clubs, knives, fists, chokes, and grabs. We also learn defense against assailants with guns. Testing sees how well we have learned the different defenses to attacks and then at the end of each test, we have "dessert". In dessert, 4 people stand around you and take turns attacking you with weapons, grabs, or their fists. You must defend yourself and show that you can take down and disable your attacker, without actually injuring them. This is the control that you attain with years of training.

The belts start with white, then orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, red, brown, and finally black. Each belt after yellow, has stripes (usually given in pairs) that must be earned. You need 4 stripes to move to the next belt level. You can only take each test after about 4 months of study and when you obtain a brown belt, then it jumps to 5 months of study. This is a realistic system. To get proficient, you really need to put in the time to gain and demonstrate the skills necessary to move to the next belt level. Once you get to black belt, there are degrees of black. It keeps getting more challenging as you progress and the intervals between tests are 2 years for 2nd degree and 2-3 years for 3rd degree.

The black belt test is brutal and demanding. It lasts about 2 hours and makes you demonstrate, basically all you have learned in all your years of training and in doing so, exhaust you. When you are exhausted, you must rely on your training to keep going. At the final dessert, you are attacked by 6 black belts who are going to win. The goal is to do the best you can against all of them. Imagine all those great movies where the hero is attacked by many attackers and defeats them all. It ain't going to happen here. You will ultimately lose. The following day is when you realize that your body has muscles that you never knew existed. Every part of you aches. But the aches go away and you now have the pride of your black belt.

The 4th degree is all weapons - knives, clubs, guns, hands - and proficiency is the goal. The 2nd degree& 3rd degree tests are not quite as brutal. We needed to show what we have learned in the preceeding years (3rd degree everything is done with only one hand, both lefty and righty) and demonstrate control, accuracy, and skill. We worked with younger student "attackers" or ukes and we put them in pain and then threw them or subdued them. The object is to show our skill, but not damage them. Many thanks to our ukes for making their bodies available to us. All of them are black belts in the Karate system and junior black belts in our Jujitsu system.

After 17 years of training, photos from my 4th degree black belt ceremony on July 8, 2017. Our school had not previously awarded anyone a 4th degree Black Belt.

There were 5 of us who received our 4th degree and one who received his 5th degree Black Belt. The journey continues.

Sensei Glen Faustini (5th), Tony (4th), Barry (4th), Paul (5th), Sensei Richard Faustini (8th), Me (4th), Lynn (4th), Brianna (4th)

After 13 years of training, photos from my 3rd degree black belt test on November 10, 2013. The day before the test, I went rock digging and dropped a boulder on my right hand. My finger needed 4 stitches to close the wound and so everything had to be done with three fingers when I used my right hand. The doctor splinted my finger so that it would not get further injured.

After 11 years of training, photos from my 2nd degree black belt test on April 9, 2011

There were four of us that tested for our 2nd degree - me, Stacy, Geraldine, & Toni

I took my black belt test on May 16th, 2009. Here are the photos from my black belt test. This test was more brutal than the 2nd degree test.

Dessert (Attack of the higher degree black belts)


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