Richard Neipen is congratulated by Grand Master and 8th Degree black belt Jerry Cook after the teen-ager passes his test and became a 1st Degree black belt in karate. | Special to Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 12, 2012 6:04AM
A 17-year-old from Winthrop Harbor recently earned his 1st Degree black belt in karate.
Richard Neiper, a junior at Zion-Benton High School, tested for two hours to earn the coveted honor of wearing a black belt.
To qualify, he had to do 100 pushups, 100 situps, break four boards, complete eight forms and spar 3-on-1.
Neiper started his martial-arts training at Gerry Cook’s Professional Martial Arts studio in Waukegan a dozen years ago.
He started with lessons for self-defense, and now has captured three national titles in Taekwondo. His next competition will be Sept. 30 in Madison, Wis.
The 6-foot, 160-pounder is, according to Cook, totally dedicated to the sport of martial arts.
“He loves the Art and he really likes a hard workout,” Cook said in a statement.
At Z-B High School, Neipen’s favorite subject is history. Cook said the student wants to pursue a career in the medical field.
Cook’s studio is located on Lewis Ave. Cook, himself, is an 8th Degree black belt.