Black Belts: Davie siblings earn them on the same day

Published 2:21 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Savi and Kenny Carter do things together.

The sister and brother, ages 19 and 16, respectively, were being home schooled in 2018 when they started looking for a physical education activity.

An uncle suggested karate, and they began taking classes at Davie Recreation & Parks.

Fast forward to 2023 – and both have earned their Black Belts – on the same day.

“We had always had a pact that we would never test without the other,” she said.

Not only did they pass the tests, they are two of only three members to earn a Black Belt in more than 20 years from the Mid-Eastern Karate Association. And now, they’re helping teach younger students, hoping to compete for Team USA in two years during the next world competition.

“Physically, it’s very good,” he said. “It’s practicing movements, a lot of mobility. You can’t train for karate other than doing karate.”

“It’s a lot of discipline,” Savi said. “It also brings a sense of respect.”

And with karate, there is always room for improvement. It’s a way to keep motivated, they said.

“It gives you a lot of confidence. It teaches you that responsibility goes with power.”

Yes, Kenny said he knows how to fight. “But we’re in karate and know better. Karate requires a lot of precision you wouldn’t use in a real fight.”

Family, friends and even a few surprise guests came for their Black Belt test earlier this summer, making the brother-sister duo proud.

They were testing before 10 Black Belt recipients, and had to perform 15 sets of specific movements. They tested on five weapons. And they had three, two-minute fights.

“We were ready,” he said.

At the end, all karate students lined up for Savi and Kenny to walk by. If any thought a Black Belt wasn’t warranted, they could step out and issue a challenge. None did.

“Karate also benefits your emotional ability,” Savi said. “You have to keep a straight face, even if you’ve screwed up. You have to put the whole day’s worth of emotions into a box. It’s a challenge.

“Karate helps you adapt your way of thinking … and the way you teach it has to be dynamic for that certain person.”

“Teaching gives you a new understanding of karate,” Kenny said.

They give credit to their teacher, or sensei, Travis Henson, a 7th Degree Black Belt, to Stokes Harrison and Hamilton Perkins, association director. “They are wonderful teachers, very motivational,” she said.

The practice, they say, is something they hope to continue throughout their lives.

“Some people do it just for enjoyment, for the exercise, and don’t worry about getting better,” he said. “You can always work harder to move up any time you decide.”

Both are active members of Trinity Baptist Church, children of Nathan and Katie Carter. And now, both can proudly wear Black Belts.

“It’s just a little status thing we enjoy,” Savi said.