Connie Rausch aims to build program

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Watching 5-year-old Liliana Anderson Rivera close-up as she goes through her rapid-fire karate moves, you get the feeling that she means business.

It's all in the eyes and the fists.

Same goes for Katherine Patterson, 18, and Bryant Martinez, 15, as the group works through various arm movements and stances at the start of a session under the tutelage of Connie Rausch.

Rausch trained for four years under previous instructor Nick Lemke, and is on the way to receiving her black belt in the sport. She is also the new karate program instructor for the Greater Marco Family YMCA, and at this stage welcomes beginners to the sport from the age of around 5 and upward.

"I like doing the punches and stuff," said Anderson Rivera, adding that she'd one day like to be a champion.

She recently received her first "stripe" on her belt, and is looking forward to achieving two more before being eligible to go for her first (white) belt.

Patterson, a home school student who is fairly fluent in Mandarin and is aiming to become a physician, started karate lessons just a couple of months ago.

"I like how disciplined it is, and also that you can practice the moves at home," said Patterson.

Martinez, a black belt who has competed at local, state, national and most recently international level, will assist Rausch with the program, which they hope to build to around 20 students as soon as possible.

The group meets each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Y from 3:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For details on fees and any additional requirements, as well as for general information on the Y's wide variety of programs and activities for youth and adults, call 394-3144 or visit marcoymca.org. An app is also available to access the website conveniently.

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