MANCHESTER >> Alan McGraw hasn't let physical or mental disability stop him from his goals.
With more than a decade of martial arts training behind him, the Manchester man was inducted into the Eastern U.S.A. International Martial Arts Association Black Belt Hall of Fame.
He was chosen as an Inspirational Martial Arts Example and was honored earlier this month at a conference in Pittsburgh.
"It has been a pleasure working with EUSAIMAA and attending their leadership conference and induction for the last 9 years," says his mother Judy. "It is a world class organization and education from the best of the best in the business. We have made many friends in the arts at this conference which we remain close to. It is always an honor to be inducted and awarded the privilege to attend this event. "
McGraw, who was born with Down Syndrome and epilepsy, started his training in grade school with Sensei Jon Bottomms and received his black belt in 2007. He then joined the Manchester branch of the Vermont Martial Arts Academy and continued his training with Sensei Rick Marallo.
The conference was the 27th in the program's history and brings people together from a membership that boasts 70 countries, including of course, the United States.
"I want to be a Grandmaster," McGraw said when asked what his goals are now.
The EUSAIMAA is the world's only martial arts association that offers a private Global Leadership Conference for its members and the association has also maintained the U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame and International Black Belt Registry for more than 28 years.
The association has been credited with landmark service to its members and many great achievements in the martial arts. In 1993, the Eastern U.S.A. International Martial Arts Association sponsored one of the world's great history making events. In St. Petersburg, Russia, hosted for the first time ever in history, an open martial arts tournament competition attended by American and Russian martial artists on Russian soil.
For three days, thousands of spectators enjoyed the skills of martial artists from eight different countries in the kata, kurnite and weapon competition rings. Under the direction of Soke John C. Kanzler, competitors shared the international spirit of martial arts and KarateDo. The event proved the common bond of martial arts is a significant factor in the quest for world peace. Soke John C. Kanzler was presented with a special achievement award from the United States Senate as a global martial arts instructor, and for his efforts promoting world peace through this international event.
The association continues to add new members through an exclusive sponsorship process, as it continues to improve the communication, education, recognition, and professionalism of all martial artists across the United States and around the world.