FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Seven martial arts students from Fort Bragg brought home gold from the North Carolina State Games, June 19, at the Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, N.C.

Four of the students, Immanuel Mayner, 5, his sister Amari Mayner, 9, Christopher Wilson, 15, and Asante R. Lee, 15, won gold medals in each of their events - kata, weapons and fighting.

Siblings Benjamin and Jessica Palisca, 8 and 6 respectively, won double gold in kata and fighting while Christopher's younger brother Levon Wilson, 10, won gold in weapons and silver in kata.

The State Games is a multi-sport, Olympic-style competition promoting physical fitness, good sportsmanship, academic excellence and drug-free competition to North Carolinians of all ages and skill levels according to

Sensei Angelica Green, with the help of Sensei Kyoshi Lacy Green Jr., trained the youth for the competition and the hard work paid off.

Besides training in class, the youth often practiced at home. "I kept practicing until I got it right and it turned out that I got first place," said Jessica. "We did katas in the backyard once a day," added brother Benjamin.

Christopher felt nervous before competition "but I overcame," he said.

Parents of the young martial artists said they were proud of their children's accomplishments.
"They are extremely talented and gifted. I say everything you do, give God the praise for it," said Eddie Mayner, retired chief warrant officer 4 with the 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade.

"They work at home, they are strong and disciplined and they are going to be the next rising Karate Kids," he said proudly.

Maj. Nate Palisca, XVIII Airborne Corps G3, was surprised at his children's determination to win. "For kids that young to be willing to practice katas, to practice several times a week, to practice over and over and to do everything that was asked of them, I was really very impressed and very proud of them," he said.

Diana Wilson, wife of Staff Sgt. Lewillis Wilson, Company A, Warrior Transition Battalion, supports her children Christopher and Levon by often driving miles to different tournaments.

"This is what they want to do. Karate has made them have more discipline and respect," she said. Diana said she is also impressed with Tolson Youth Activities Center. "This center has really provided a lot of benefits for teenagers," she said.

For more information about martial arts classes at the Tolson Youth Activities Center, call 396-5437.