Aeryn Mei-Ling SmithHello. My name is Aeryn Mei-Ling Smith. I was born in Anhui Province in China and was adopted by my parents, Russ & Marley, when I was only 14 months old. I will be turning 9 years old in the next couple of weeks. I started karate at AmeriKick Karate Langhorne during the summer of 2008, when I was only 4 years old. I had taken a class with Sensei Chris Goffman when he came to my preschool to teach the kids. That August, my parents signed me up for regular classes. In the fall of 2010, I joined the Black Belt Club after I earned by Purple Belt. In the fall of 2011, I joined the Master Club after earning my 2nd Kyu Brown Belt and being asked to join the Langhorne Demo Team by Sensei Chris Millares. I have earned my way up to the rank of Red Belt, which I earned last fall. I placed in the AKL Tournament Top 10 for AmeriKick Langhorne in 2010-2011, and the AKL Tournament Top 10 for both AmeriKick Langhorne and AKL Pennsylvania in 2011-2012. I’m now into my 5th year of karate as I approach my Junior Black Belt.

Aeryn Mei-Ling Smith black beltWhat BLACK BELT Means to Me:

I have been very fortunate in my years of taking karate to have worked with Senseis who have shown me what it means to be a Black Belt, and the things I can accomplish as a Black Belt. In my early days, my Senseis at AmeriKick Langhorne (Justin Smith, Chris Goffman and Melody Waterhouse) helped me grow into a talented young martial artist, as I earned my way from my White Belt up through my Blue Belt. In 2011, Sensei Chris Millares came to AmeriKick Langhorne and took me under his wing and helped me to grow faster. I went from Green Belt at the start of 2011 to Red Belt by the end of the year. This year, Sensei Chris M. has been helping me prepare for my Black Belt testing, as well as refine my musical and creative katas. I have also had the honor of working with other Senseis. Grand Master Dennis Tosten taught my class the power of using our minds in addition to our karate. He taught me some sparring techniques that will help to protect me. I have also worked with Sensei Mark Gallagher each month during the sparring and tricking sessions he holds at his school. He has shown me how to use my height as an advantage during sparring and how to protect myself from quick strikes while I’m attacking. He has also shown me warm-up exercises that work well when I’m going to be tricking. I met Sensei Emily Cid there, too, and she has been really helpful with my sparring.

Dennis Tosten AmerikickBlack Belt Testing:

As I approach my Black Belt testing, my dad and mom have been helping me to understand the importance of this achievement. I have loved doing karate since I started, especially the tournaments, Demo Team, and the friendships I am making with other students at AmeriKick. I have been learning so much, from the katas, weapons and sparring, as well as tricking. I am working very hard, taking about 6 – 8 classes a week as I learn more in preparation for testing. However, it hasn’t always been easy for me. Being shorter than most of the kids in my classes, it can be harder for me especially during sparring. I have strived to overcome this disadvantage. My Senseis have helped me to overcome this and worked with me to turn it into an advantage. When we practice self-defense, it is harder for me to do some techniques when my partner is taller than me. I know going forward my training will only get tougher. Having friends who are already Junior or Senior Black Belts, I see how hard they work in their classes and I know that I must do the same. One thing I really enjoy is the AmeriKick tournaments. I get to meet kids from other AmeriKick Karate schools, and I have been fortunate to do well. I hope to continue as I move into the Black Belt division.

What Are You Planning to Achieve on the Quest Towards Your Next Degree:

Once I get my Junior Black Belt, I do not plan to stop there. I want to keep working toward my Senior Black Belt and eventually to 1st Degree, and maybe even 2nd Degree Black Belt before I go off to college. I know that is a lot of work, and with the support of my parents and my Senseis, I think this is something that I can accomplish. It will be a lot of hard work over the next 8 to 10 years, but this is a goal that I want to achieve. One thing I look forward to doing as a Junior Black Belt is to be able to help the Senseis in teaching the younger students at AmeriKick Langhorne. I have wanted to do this for a while, and once I have my Junior Black Belt, I think this is something that I would be able to do, to give back to AmeriKick. I also look forward to learning the advanced katas I see the other Black Belts learning. It means working harder and practicing more frequently and for longer to reach the levels of discipline Black Belts should demonstrate.

Do I deserve the honor of a Junior Black Belt?

I believe I have demonstrated the discipline and desire to attain this honor. I have been looking forward to this since I received my Red Belt last fall, and I have been working very hard with all the Senseis to understand and exhibit the skills necessary to be considered for receiving my Junior Black Belt. I can only hope I have impressed upon them my desire to attain this goal.

Thank Yous:

I would like to give my thanks to many of the Senseis that have been there for me on my journey and helped me along the way:
Sensei Justin Smith
Sensei Chris Goffman
Sensei Melody Waterhouse
Sensei Chris Millares
Sensei Andrew Bacchus
Grand Master Dennis Tosten
Sensei Mark Gallagher
Sensei Vince Little
Sensei Doug Shaffer Jr.
Sensei Alicia Gallagher
Sensei Mike Sautner
Sensei Emily Cid
Sensei Juliette Rihl
Sensei Tessa Lukacs
Sensei Amanda Laverde

Amerikick Tommy BalkirTommy Balkir started at AmeriKick Martial Arts in Warrington PA at age 3. Now at age 8 he is winning National Martial Arts tournaments.

This weekend he scored big at the Battle of Baltimore and walked home with a world title belt in Chinese weapons. He took a second in sparring, narrowly edged out by another hard working AmeriKick teammate Ben Wenzke.

Amerikick Karate Warrington“The program at AmeriKick is so diverse. Tommy is winning in five different divisions, Chinese weapons, creative, traditional kata, nunchakaus, and sparring.

The program is really unbelievable. We travel to many tournaments and the kids at AmeriKick always take home the most trophies”

Tommy is looking forward to his next competition and meanwhile will Amerikick Karate Chalfontat be training hard at AmeriKick.

He is even assisting every Wednesday Amerikick’s newest school at County line Rd and 152 in Chalfont PA 215-716-3623


Kevin Schlueter has spent most of his life learning and teaching martial arts.He started his first lesson at Amerikick at age 10, and since then has continued training and helping Amerikick Karate grow into the top karate schools in America.

Kevin will be competing at the Philly Fit Challenge on November 25th at the BucksMont sports center 2278 North Penn Rd Hatfield PA. He is ready! At age 32 he is a 4th degree black belt, He has won dozens of first place trophies, one of which is coveted by all great fighters…The Warrior Cup, considered the Stanley cup of sport karate. Along with that he has earned 7 world karate titles.

For the last 12 years he has been teaching pumped up kickboxing classes, that tone your body fast and give you muscle tone unsurpassed in any other workout. He trains two demonstration teams at Amerikick, and travels to Warrington and Montgomeryville elementary schools and day care centers, servicing the community with the karate programs, “stranger danger” and “bully proof”.

He is one of the founders of the AMERIKICK FITDEFENSE workout which teaches quick and easy self defense through a fun rhythmic workout. Come out and try out this hot new dance workout and vote for Kevin, he is ready to get you pumped! “AMERIKICK is the only workout that can both shape your butt and save your butt.”

As a young adult with Down syndrome I am very proud to have the opportunity to test for a black belt. It gives me great pleasure to practice for the black belt testing. When I first began Karate classes training, I was very scared of all the pressure and physical demands. I would often leave training very upset and tell my parents I didn’t want to go back.

I soon learned that the Amerikick Team was very supportive and helpful. All the Sensei’s were proud of me and I began to work very hard gaining confidence in my abilities rather than my disability. Sensei Nick is always extremely supportive, and Sensei Nicole would always tell me what a great job I was doing. All the Senseis are really helpful and teach me a lot about how to protect myself, remembering all the different Katas, and self defense techniques I learned in karate class.

I really like going to karate classes now and I always do my best to show the younger students that if you work hard you can achieve anything. I like to think I am a good role model for them. My teammates at Amerikick are really great and we help each other a lot. We work out very hard to stay in shape. I am most proud of my straddle, which is always the best in my whole class.

I practice and stretch every day to keep my body very flexible. I am going to work very very hard to study all my techniques so that I am sure I can pass my black belt testing. If I do get my black belt, I will continue to train at Amerikick karate Delran with all the other Sensei’s to keep on improving my knowledge and technique so that I can get my next degree of black belt.

Getting a black belt is not the end for me, just the beginning of what I think will be a lifelong training of this wonderful discipline called Karate. As I work towards my next degree I will do my very best to learn all the techniques Amerikick teaches so that I can continue to improve my physical shape and ability to protect myself. I look forward to training under the Senseis. Every one of them encourages me to do my best. They are the best teachers in the world. They always take care of the students and keep us prepared for anything that may challenge us in life.

I hope I can pass my Black Belt test so that I can become a Sensei just like The Amerikick Senseis. I would try very hard to teach the younger students all the same life lessons, skills, and attitudes that the Amerikick Senseis have taught me over the years. I would also continue to train as hard as I can to achieve my goal of reaching higher degrees of Black Belt and achieving the highest level I am capable of earning.