He's seen all the colors--from white to green to black and everything else in between--but the pink belt may be the best karate belt of all for Clifford Crandall Jr.

A Martial Arts Grand Master, he has been studying and applying his craft for 53 years. For the past 28, he has taught his disciplines at the American Martial Arts Institute in New Hartford.

Crandall has recently created and championed a pink belt program. While pink is not an official designation in the martial arts scale, it does have special significance here.

He has been conferring pink belts to kids and adults in order to promote cancer awareness and reduce some of the fears that go along with the group of diseases that sparks such fear and raises so many questions.

The Martial Arts Institute was set to host a special evening Tuesday, September 19th, at 6:15, with its final pink belt ceremony and class. As part of that, the American Martial Arts Academy is awarding Bob Elinskas from the American Cancer Society with an honorary pink belt for all he's done to raise funds and awareness in Utica for the fight against cancer.

Then, Sunday, October 15th, the students with pink belts (well over 100 have been conferred) will participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.


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