Martial Arts Family Fitness, a family-owned and operated school dedicated to improving lives through martial arts, announced Tuesday that Master Dave Wheaton will oversee the testing of five adult and four youth students for black belts in the art of Dynamic Circle Hapkido.

The black belt exam and promotion will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Santa Barbara school’s facility at 122 E Gutierrez St.

“Four deserving youth students and three adults will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of Hapkido this coming Saturday as they test for their first dan,” said Wheaton, founder and owner of Martial Arts Family Fitness. “Additionally, two students, a father and daughter, are testing for second dan. All have worked exceedingly hard to reach this goal. Saturday is a very special day for them and their families.”

“Besides the actual black belt test, our lead instructor and third dan black belt, Andrew Hollingsworth, will be recognized as the Central Coast’s Top Black Belt,” said Melodee Meyer, co-owner of Martial Arts Family Fitness. “Andrew participated in a competition created by Master John Macurdy to identify the Central Coast’s Top Black Belt. The competition was videotaped and will appear on local cable in the near future. We are very excited for and proud of Andrew.”

Macurdy will present the award at 11 a.m.

To test for their black belt, students must exhibit proficiency in various areas of study, including basics (hand strikes and kicks), self-defense techniques, take-downs and throw forms, and sparring, including individual and multiple attacker scenarios.

“Our students train through a rigorous curriculum, and prepare physically and mentally for this day,” Wheaton said. “We are different from many other schools as there is no difference in the black belt earned by an adult or youth student. As a black belt, each student is encouraged to continue practicing and making the art their own. For many of our students the black belt is only the beginning of a life-long journey.”

The students testing for their first black belt are: Megan Duffy, Caden Heinze, Joe Gagnon, Karina Muñoz, Taylor Robertson, Alex Rodriguez and Bella Wygant. Michael and Elizabeth Cutbrith are testing for second dan.

— Alex Rodriguez represents Martial Arts Family Fitness.