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Category: Tae Kwon Do

Bottle Cap Challenge

Apparently there’s a thing called the #bottlecapchallenge. I hadn’t heard of it, but people were talking about it after Tae Kwon Do last night, so the kids decided to give it a try. After looking at the videos online this morning, I realize I should have been filming slow motion with a close up of the bottle, but nobody here is a professional. 🙂

Here’s Harlan. Then, of course, Elise had to give it a try too. Slightly modified…

Adding a slow motion shot from a later class. Cap doesn’t come off but spins nicely.

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September 2018 Tae Kwon Do Belt Test

Saturday was promotion day at Elite Martial Arts Academy! Eric, Harlan, and Elise, along with 24 other students, tested for promotions during a marathon testing session that lasted for several hours.  Here’s how it all went down…

Elise’s Test

Sensei Chad and Sanpai Quinn award Emma with her White Belt while Elise receives her White Belt from Senseis ? and Corry.
Emma, Elise, and Dee Dee being awarded their White Belts.

While Harlan and Eric have been working hard for months to improve their combination kicks and katas, Elise had been working on learning her block-punch-kick combination and the first half of the Kibon Hana kata.  She is a little younger than Master Parker generally likes to start a student, but Elise has been paying attention to her big brother and was already starting to show off her kicking ability while hanging out at the dojang.  Master Parker said that if she could demonstrate block-punch-kick combination, which not only shows off kicking and punching but also coordination and balance, as well as the first half of the first kata then he would reward her with her White Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

True to being a two year old, Elise did not take to being ordered around very well.  She performed her block-punch-kick but then decided that she wasn’t going to do her kata.  She had been doing pretty well up until that, but it was past nap time.  Master Parker said that he would come back to her in a few minutes after she ran off the mat to go get a snack.

A few minutes later (with a snack in her belly) Elise was back on the mat redoing her block-punch-kick and her Kibon Hana.  She got approvals from all senseis present and passed her test!

Harlan’s Test

Blue Belt Harlan stands with his broken board.
Blue Belt Harlan and his broken board.

Harlan was hoping to promote to a Blue Belt from his current rank of Green.  Blue starts the advance ranks of belts at the junior level, and Harlan was ready!

In the weeks prior to the exam he had been practicing his combination kicks including one, the skip side kick with a jumping roundhouse kick combination, that he’s become quite proficient with and is known for at the dojang.  He had also been studying all his katas needed for his exam.

Harlan’s test was significantly more difficult as they were required to show all katas through Green, combination kicks, and endurance using push-ups as well as holding those push-up positions for longer periods of time.  Harlan took this all in stride, however.

Here, Harlan does one of his combination kicks:

The only difficulty came when it was time for Harlan to break his board, a requirement for obtaining his belt.  Despite knowing his proper kicks, it was difficult for him to come up with enough power to actually fracture the board.  He was very frustrated and tired after repeatedly trying to break his board using various kicks, especially since the other older students had all broken their boards, sometimes on the first kick.  In the end, Harlan was able to ax-kick his way through the board and was awarded his Blue Belt.

Eric’s Test

Eric’s test started as a Yellow-to-Green examination, but Master Parker had other plans.  After completing what he wanted to see from those promoting to Green he then asked Eric to step forward and to change his mindset from Tae Kwon Do to Aiki Jujitsu.  While Tae Kwon Do is a Korean martial art, Aiki Jujitsu is a Japanese martial art that is practiced first on air and then, using an uke, actually performed on a person at a reduced power one would use in combat, to demonstrate competence.

First, Eric was asked to demonstrate Aiki Jujitsu katas one through three.  After successfully doing so, our resident uke was asked to the floor to receive the katas for a demonstration:

Knowing Ken (uke) had to go to work the next day, Eric tried to be easy on him, especially with the foot sweeps.  That was, however, unacceptable to the senior sensei who wanted to see better power and not just “walking through the kata”.  So, Sensei Chad was offered up as uke, one that has more training in actual fighting and would be able to take the blows:

Eric was then asked to describe what body parts he was striking and how they were being affected by the strike. After successfully completing this demonstration of knowledge, Eric was awarded his Blue Belt.

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Tae Kwon Do White Belt Tests

Harlan, dressed in a black dobok, tands at the ready in front of his examiners as he prepares to take his test.

Back in May I reported that Harlan had started taking Tae Kwon Do classes at the local dojang.  Well, today was the day for taking his first test, the reward being his first belt.

Harlan has been working hard for around two months and has stuck with a training program that takes him to the dojang three to four days a week for one to two hours a day.  He’s made several friends and his skill level hasn’t stopped him from trying things that are well outside of his training level (he likes to brag that he was doing Brown Belt jump kicks).

The day started off normally with warm-ups at 11AM.  Everyone knew this was a testing day but that didn’t keep a little goofing off from happening.

Drake (Red Belt) helps his Dad with stretches.

The more senior students were on hand to help the students who were testing make sure they knew what they needed to know.  At a little after noon the testing began.  Six students were on hand to be tested and Harlan was number four.  I would go into detail of how he did but I’ll let you see for yourself.

He did very well and, of course, there’s always room for a little showboating…

Harlan scored a perfect score and was awarded his White Belt in Tae Kwon Do!

Harlan is awarded his White Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Harlan is awarded his White Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

But that’s not all that happened today.  The Christensen family represented a third of the testing applicants at today’s event.  Dad, “the old man”, has also been paying attention during these Tae Kwon Do classes and has been known to get out on the mat and do a few kicks and punches now and again.  A week or so ago I was informed by my sensei, Master Parker, that I would be testing for my White Belt today and that I should be prepared.  Yikes!  So the last couple of weeks have been spent doubling-down on my training both at the dojang and at home.  Because I’m considered an adult (how he came up with that I’ll never know) I also had to write a research paper and do a special finale.

There is some video of my demonstration but if you watched Harlan’s videos then you’ve pretty much seen everything I had to do only you saw someone far more competent do it.  The one thing Harlan didn’t have to do was this…

That’s right ladies… the line forms to the left… right after my nap.

Eric and Harlan as new White Belts.
Eric and Harlan as new White Belts.
Eric's broken board from his White Belt test.
Eric’s broken board from his White Belt test.
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Harlan has started learning Tae Kwon Do

A few weeks ago Harlan started attending a beginner Tae Kwon Do class at the local community center. He seems to really enjoy it and so we decided to sign him up at the local dojo. Master Parker has been putting Harlan through some of the movements and Harlan has been learning them.  His block-punch-kick has improved as has his round-house kicks that he seems to naturally be able to do.  Here is a link to a video from today of Harlan finishing off his day of training with the first half of the first traditional form: Kibon Hana.

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