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Wamesit Lanes Person Of The Week: Jack Anderson

Sep 29, 2017 04:31PM ● By Bill Gilman
It's not often when you run into an 8-year-old that you wouldn't want to mess with, but Jack Anderson fits that description.
The North Street School third-grader has practiced tae-kwon-do since he was 5 at ATA Martial Arts in Tewksbury, under the tutelage of Master Justin Garafano. Earlier this month, Jack earned his Black Belt. And for that reason, Jack Anderson is our Wamesit Lanes Person of the Week.
To give you some idea of the significance of the achievement, here is a list of the tae kwon do ranks, leading up to 1st degree Black Belt:
10th Gup White Belt
  9th Gup White Belt With Yellow Stripe
  8th Gup Yellow Belt
  7th Gup Yellow Belt With Green Stripe
  6th Gup Green Belt
  5th Gup Green Belt With Blue Stripe
  4th Gup Blue Belt
  3rd Gup Blue Belt With Red Stripe
  2nd Gup Red Belt
  1st Gup Red Belt With Black Stripe
  1st Dan (Il Dan) Black Belt

Jack achieved promotion through these ranks in less than four years. That's almost exactly the same amount of time it took Garafano, who began training at 10 and earhned his first Black Belt at 13.
For Jack, being a Black Belt at tae kwon do isn't about being able to beat people up, but rather, about being confident and prepared.
"Just in case I need it, I'd be ready for whatever happens," he said. "I'd be ready to defend myself."
The Black Belt test is demanding for a martial artist of any age. The fitness test includes doing 50 sit-ups, 30 push-ups, 10 punch combinations and 10 punch-kick combinations -- all in five minutes. That's followed by a 15-minute test to display a student's skills, including multiple exercises and, of course, breaking boards with fists, feet and elbows.
As he continues to practice and learn, Jack will continue up the rankings ladder. There are nine degrees of Black Belt he can achieve.
Some day, Jack says he would like to become a "Master" or instructor.
In addition to his individual achievements,. Jacki also competes with the ATA team, participating in competitions for combat, sparring and forms.
One might think that would fill Jack's schedule.
One would be wrong.
Jack also competes in swimming as a member of the Billerica Boys and Girls Club Sea Wolves.
All of which keep Jack's parents, Dirk and Erin Anderson very busy, and makes them very proud.

For being named Wamesit Lanes Person of the Week, Jack Anderson received a gift card to Wamesit Lanes, Merrimack Valley's premier family entertainment center.

Do you know a friend, neighbor or family member who deserves a pat on the back for something cool they've done? Nominate them for Person of the Week by emailing their name, along with the reason they should be honored, to

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