Our local student Steve Schwettman participated in the 2021 AAU Taekwondo Virtual Nationals on February 27th, bringing home the Gold in TSD Traditional Forms and Open Traditional Forms!
Willow earned her 1st Degree Black Belt on December 14th, 2019!
Rowan earned her 1st Degree Black Belt on December 14th, 2019!
Rowan’s Black Belt paper: rowan_black_belt_paper
Several of our students recently had the privilege of being invited to a Grandmasters seminar featuring our own Grandmaster Rankin along with Grandmaster Chris Natzke, United State National Taekwondo Champion who trained under Superfoot Wallace, and Grandmaster David Sgro, a Team USA Olympic Taekwondo coach who was tutored by the second and third black belt holders in the Moo Duk Kwan.
With this degree of provenance, it should come as no surprise that we’ll be processing what we learned for many months to come. The three basic areas we covered, in order, were:
- Some incredible sparring techniques, known as the Superfoot System, which concentrate on footwork and extremely fast kicks without telegraphing your moves to your opponent.
- Powerful but delicate joint manipulations as taught in Hapkido, which are designed to inflict maximum damage with a minimum amount of movement and effort.
- Applications (Bunkai) of our forms as passed down directly from the originators of our martial art system.
While much of what we learned could only be explained by demonstrating and practicing in the Dojang, there were a couple of overall takeaways that are worth discussing…
The first is to never stop. Even if you’re injured, keep training as well as you can. Think about Superfoot Wallace. Even in a full leg cast and destroyed knee, he trained the other leg to kick and became a world champion despite his life-long handicap. Once you stop, you deteriorate, so keep going no matter what.
The second is that our forms are misunderstood by most, because nearly everyone takes the movements too literally. The term “Martial Arts” consists of two seemingly contradictory words. Martial means combative, while Arts means Art! Our forms represent the “Art” side of Martial Arts, and are intentionally embellished for symmetry, grace, and beauty. Because of this, not everything is what it seems. For instance, most people learn the opening block of Pyong E Dan as a two-armed block. In reality, only one arm is blocking while the other is executing a pressure-point strike to the neck followed by an elbow to the windpipe. The actual movement, when performed, is too graphic (combative) for a form, so the resulting double-block is a visual embellishment that still trains your body and mind to the movement. This same principle is also easily noticed in our 4-way blocks, where we are blocking 4 different opponents in different directions without striking them at all. Of course that isn’t the intent of the form. In some forms, the rapid blocks are an artistic approach to a takedown, which is a move that doesn’t look that great being performed solo, but requires the same turning motion.
Lastly, the seminar took a more somber tone, reminding us to never forget how good we have it and how truly rich we are. The seminar and tournament were held as a fundraiser to help furnish school supplies to children in the Philippines and Guatemala.
(click on the image to see it full size)
Mr. Miller will be holding a summer weapon’s class beginning Monday June 17th and continuing for 6 weeks. Download and print the registration form here:
Mrs. Rich has been a student and teacher of various martial arts and fitness disciplines since early 1996. She currently holds a 5th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, Tung Su Do. After teaching mat Pilates off and on for years she finally became certified in early 2017. She has also been known to teach senior fitness classes very similar to Sit and Be Fit.
Mrs. Rich has been involved with the Mountain Academy of Martial Arts, Gilpin County, since 1996. She is very involved (maybe instrumental is more accurate) with the Gilpin County and Clear Creek schools and is the go to person for demos and other events. Always quick with a smile or an idea, Mrs. Rich is a very valuable part of the Mountain Academy.
Information about Master Beasley.
Information about Ms. Theriot.