Ben Marsh receives jiu jitsu black belt after 11 years of training

Receiving your black belt in jiu jitsu is no easy thing, no matter who you are or where you live.

For Ben Marsh of Red Dragon Martial Arts, getting his black belt last weekend on November 9, 2019, was the end of 11 hard years working and training in the sport.

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“It’s been a real long time, and the jiu jitsu black belt is really tough. You get beat up a lot sparring and training every day, and I blew out my knee for eight months at one point and was wondering about the future of my martial arts, but I’m really pleased to get it,” said Marsh.

The ceremony was a part of a jiu jitsu seminar at Red Dragon put on by Professor Kyle Cardinal, who comes to Fort St. John a couple times each year to work with Marsh and the rest of his students. There were seven adults and seven students who participated in the seminar and received stripe promotions at the end of the day.

Cardinal, despite being involved in jiu jitsu for 26 years, had only given out one black belt to a student prior to Marsh.

“I’m very stingy with handing out black belts, but Ben deserved it. His work ethic, training, and teaching are phenomenal, and he really puts in the work. A lot of guys just teach without learning the art themselves, and that’s a lot of what sets Ben apart,” Cardinal said.

Marsh said he thinks he’s only the second person in Fort St. John to receive their black belt in jiu jitsu. With the lack of training partners available in Fort St. John, and the work that goes into running Red Dragon, Cardinal is even more impressed with Marsh getting to this point.

“I only see him a couple times a year, but every time I do I’m amazed at how much he’s improved. The kids here are heads and tails above a lot of the kids I see, and it’s a testament to Ben’s commitment to the sport,” Cardinal said.

Marsh also has a black belt in taekwondo.

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at

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