Candidates from the National Karate Academy of Martial Arts in Cottage Grove received black belt promotions at the black belt exam April 13 at the Eisenhower Community Center in Hopkins, Minn. Seven students earned their first-degree black belt, one earned second-degree, and one a third-degree black belt. Candidates are eligible to test for black belt after completing a rigorous curriculum of karate skills and passing three segment tests, no less than six months apart, prior to the exam.

In addition to black belt promotions, Sam Forthun, a fourth-degree black belt and instructor, and Joel Forthun, a fourth-degree black belt and volunteer instructor, received the National Karate Service award for their work with Cottage Grove students, dedication to the school programs and judging at National Karate events.