Ferndale 16-year-old martial artist McKenna Jolly became a world champion martial arts forms competitor during the National Blackbelt League World Games Sunday, Dec. 30, in Buffalo, N.Y.
Jolly won the open-hand form competition and placed second in the weapons competition. The six-day event began Wednesday, Dec. 26 and concluded Monday, Dec. 31. McKenna's father, Mick Jolly, said McKenna left on Christmas Day and was returning home late New Year's Day.
Mick said McKenna was awarded a diamond-styled ring comparable to the NFL's version of a super bowl ring. She also was given a special black belt complete with the phrase "NBL 1st place" embroiderd on it.
McKenna placed second last year, and Mick said his daughter was extra determined this time around. He also said McKenna paid for the trip through personal earnings and sponsorships.
"Last year, she got second, so she was training hard this year," Mick said in a phone interview."
McKenna, who is the Running Start program at Whatcom Community College, where she's learning to speak both Arabic and French, is an aspiring Secret Service agent.