Local martial arts instructor set to receive seventh-degree black belt, grandmaster title

Published 12:43 am Thursday, June 2, 2016

NATCHEZ — Ken Rogers has been eligible to be promoted to a seventh-degree black belt since 2013.

However, it wasn’t until recently that Rogers’ mentor, Jeff Forby, felt the Natchez native was primed to receive the title of grandmaster instructor title.

“My instructor was kind of hard on me,” Rogers said. “He made me kind of tune up a little bit.”

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Rogers said the honor gives him the distinction of being the Miss-Lou area’s first resident grandmaster instructor.

Rogers said although Forby was hard on him at times, it was all for his own betterment.

“He’s really been a strong mentor,” Rogers said. “He’s really pointed out my flaws in basic technique in my performance.”

The 60-year-old martial artist got his start in mixed martial arts in 1976.

Rogers attended Mississippi State University, where he took part in a school-affiliated martial arts program.

“I got a real good, solid foundation in my martial-arts training with an exposure in judo, hapkido and taekwondo,” Rogers said. “I had a number of tournaments I could go to and compete in championships. I was the No. 1 competitor a lot of times.”

After obtaining a master’s in horticulture, Rogers soon returned to his hometown and opened the Moo Sul Kwan gym.

“It’s great motivation,” Rogers said. “I love to see my students grow up strong. When you see them develop some strong technique that you know can produce some damage to the target, that will make you proud.”

Rogers said he is thankful for the longevity he maintained in the sport as it has provided him with a positive outlook.

“I’m very grateful that I’m so healthy,” Rogers said. “I can really work hard and perform really well, and I’m really grateful for that.”

Rogers will attend a national martial arts meeting June 26 where the new honoree will sit on a panel for black-belt testing as the second-highest ranked student at Moo Sul Kwan.

“That’s a real honor,” Rogers said.