Martial arts

Mellennia Martial Arts’ Black Belts who tested in January include (back row from left) Dryw Hein, Anthony Braswell, Ciera Marweg, Master Nixon; (middle row from left) Julia Kelly, Britney Green; and (front row) Gage Prucnal.

The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

CLINTON — Ten years ago, Shane Nixon fulfilled his dream and opened Mellennia Martial Arts, hoping to give Clinton residents a positive Tae Kwon Do school at which to train. Now, Nixon and his students are celebrating their accomplishments.

“I opened Mellennia Martial Arts with the dream of it being the most professional and positive school in the area,” said Nixon, who started with only three students — his mother, his aunt and a friend.

“Mellennia was started to give students an affordable and dedicated place to train,” he stated. “We specialize in building students’ confidence, respect and discipline.”

Now, Nixon is the Martial Arts instructor at the Clinton YMCA and has more than 130 active students. Mellennia also has other branches in Preston, Morrison, DeWitt, and Bettendorf, which are operated by Nixon’s Black Belt students.

When reflecting on his favorite memories from the past 10 years, Nixon recalls when his team won a grand championship in Canada.

“Mellennia has achieved many tournament championships and five years ago began to host our own Open Tae Kwon Do Tournament here in Clinton,” stated Nixon. The tournament now has over 200 competitors.

“I feel that the most important thing about competing is that the students learn something from each event, whether they win or not,” Nixon said. “Sometimes that is the best way to learn humility.”

Besides hosting competitions, Mellennia students compete in tournaments throughout the year. Earlier this month, two third degree Black Belt students and siblings, Troy and Maria Kelly, competed in Las Vegas at the 2009 U.S. Open Tae Kwon Do Tournament, hosted by the USA Tae Kwon Do Association.

“This is the same organization (which) hosts and coaches the USA Tae Kwon Do Olympic team,” Nixon said of USAT.

“Maria earned a third-place medal in the competition,” stated Nixon. “(She and Troy) are two upcoming students that I have trained from day one. They have both shown dedication to Mellennia.”

Troy operates two of Mellennia’s schools, one in Preston and one in Morrison. Also, Mellennia hosted its winter Black Belt promotion in January, testing seven students, ages 7 to 25.

“The Black Belts went through a four-hour testing,” Nixon said.

Testing included warm up drills, line drills, forms, board breaking and sparring.

“Sparring for a Black Belt promotion is very rigorous,” stated Nixon. “The promotion with Mellennia is set up to test a student’s will and perseverance.”

Looking to the future, Nixon will be opening another school in Le Claire.

“I want... people to learn the true tenets of the Martial Art,” said Nixon. “It (is) important for students of the art to understand that Tae Kwon Do is not about fighting but more of an art of discipline and respect.”

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