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APRIL 2006

Promotion Testing:

The next promotion testing will be held during class time.  The second class (juniors 6-7pm) will test on Tuesday, May 16th from 6-8pm.  The first class (5-6pm) and third class (7-830pm) will test Thursday, May 18th from 6-8pm.  All students need to plan on attending this test.  We will release the list of those testing soon.

Congratulations:

Mr. Bushor has been appointed by the United States Taekwon-Do Federation to teach the referee certification course.  This will allow red belts and above to become USTF certified referees.  When attending any USTF sanctioned tournament each ring will consist of a center referee, four corner judges, a timekeeper and scorekeeper. All of these officials must be certified.  The initial class C course usually requires at least 4 hours of study and successfully passing a written and practical test.  We have allowed students to test for black belt without this certification since we did not want to require students to travel to take the referee test.  Mr. Todd and Mr. Bushor are both Class A certified and now Mr. Bushor will be able to teach this course here.  We will schedule this event for this year and all red belts and above will need to take this course.  More to come on this in the future.

Bad Weather:

As we enter the tornado season please use your common sense on coming to class during bad weather.  If we are under a tornado warning please remain home and safe.  If this occurs and bad weather closes class we will notify all students.

Tournament:

We have been invited to the first annual Greater Kansas City Taekwon-Do Open Tournament.  It is scheduled for Saturday April 29th, 2006.  There will be six different events:  Individual Patterns, Musical Patterns, Team Patterns, Self Defense, Sparring, and Power Breaking.  You can get more information on the rules, forms, and divisions from our website at www.axetkd.com.  The cost will be $20 for 1 event, $40 for 2 events, $50 for 3 events, $65 for 4 events.  We will plan on leaving the youth center at 6:30 am, Saturday April 29th.  Thus far we have 11 students planning on attending, please contact Mr. Todd or Mr. Bushor if you need further information.  

Student of the Month: 

Mr. Todd and Mr. Bushor have started selecting a Student of the Month from our class.  To be eligible the student must be in good standing and display the proper tenets of Taekwon-Do.  In February we selected Mr. Araujo and in March Mr. Wolfe.  In April we have selected Ms. Jackie Brumbaugh from the junior class and Mrs. Schulze from the adult class.  Look for their information to be posted to our web site soon. Parents or other students can nominate students for this recognition. 

Youth Center Spectator Policy: 

The Youth Center has started a policy where parents, friends or any spectators can only watch classes that are specifically designated by instructors.  We have selected Tuesday as the class for spectators, however if a parent misses Tuesday you can watch Thursday.  If you have grandparents or other relatives in town we will make exceptions.  This was started by the youth center due to spectators interfering with classes in progress.  It was not a Taekwon-Do class and we have never experienced this problem.  Please contact Mr. Todd or Mr. Bushor if you have any questions.  Again, this is a youth center policy.  

No class May 30th & June 1st:

Mr. Todd and Mr. Bushor will be out of town the week of Memorial Day.  We will make these classes up on Saturdays for students. 

Events for this year:  We are still planning 2006.  You can expect promotion testings in May, August, and November.  There will be another Camp in Missouri in August, where Mr. Bushor will be testing for 5th Degree Black Belt.  There should be at least one tournament in the fall in Missouri and Mr. Bushor will teach a Class C. Referee Course later this year.  We will also host a self defense course later this year. 

Web News:  If you have any ideas for our web site located at http://www.axetkd.com please inform Mr. Bushor or Mr. Todd. 

Tournaments (By Ricky J. Todd, 6th Degree)

Since I took over the class with the assistance of Mr. Bushor one of my goals has been to take students to tournaments.  I encourage students to attend USTF Taekwon-Do tournaments and open (other martial arts) tournaments.  Let me briefly explain my past experience with tournaments. 

When I started Taekwon-Do in 1983 tournaments were in their infancy.  I attended an open style tournament as a spectator and I witnessed a young black belt throwing jump 360 degree spinning hook kicks and I was amazed, only later did I learn how worthless this type of kicking was in competition or in self defense situations.  I witnessed students from many different martial arts and a wild variety of uniforms. Some schools displayed military discipline with strict instructors and some were on a first name basis and very informal.

I have competed in tournaments with no safety gear, punching and kicking allowed to the face, kicks allowed to the groin, holding, sweeping, having to fight your way back to your feet if you fall or are swept, in boxing rings, other schools, gyms, large motel convention areas and casino ballrooms.  I have traveled to compete in Oklahoma, Alabama, Nevada, Colorado, all over Missouri, Kansas and California.  I have also competed in Turkey and Germany.  My main goal when I started was to do well in patterns since that is what my first instructor loved.  It was not an easy road and it took many years before I ever did well in patterns.

I started in point style tournaments and was blessed with quick reflexes.  This didn’t help my patterns competition at all.  It is very hard to compete in open style tournaments doing Yul-Gok with 38 movements or one of our black belt patterns with 30-40 movements against opponents with patterns that have 50-100 movements.  They yell, flip, roll, scream and break concrete or boards in their patterns.  Sometimes they made up movements or blended several patterns together for tournaments.  Our “simple” patterns were boring to the uneducated spectators or judges.  Unfortunately I took this out on many sparring opponents.

I was 19 just turning 20 when I started Taekwon-Do so physically it was a great time to compete.  I had an instructor that pushed us hard in sparring.  We were not allowed to use safety gear so you learned quickly to score and above all else to block well.  You would think getting hit without safety gear hurts, but it doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as kicking someone toward the body and having them block your ankle with their elbow or actually striking someone in the face with your bare hands.  The safety gear we wear now actually protects the wearer more than the opponent. 

Since I was trained hard by my second instructor sparring in tournaments was actually pretty easy.  We didn’t train for tournaments we just trained hard.  I trained Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 2 hours each class.  Most of the time Wednesdays were sparring for 3 hours.  I also met with other martial artist and worked out during my own time.  I was lucky during my years of competition.  I never finished less than first or second place with the exception of a couple disqualifications on my part for excessive contact.  It was no secret and still isn’t that I prescribed to the Bruce Lee school of thought, fight with your power side (right side for me) forward and use mostly lead hand or leg techniques.  If you train hard you will still have knock out power with the rear or lead hand or leg.  I trained hard to develop my side piercing kick to be as effective as a lead hand jab is for a boxer. 

I competed in many tournaments.  At first it was to challenge myself and for fun, later it was as a role model to show my students that this is something they can do.  If I can do it, you can do it type of theory.  When I moved to California my sense of competition was well challenged in the numerous tournaments there and in Nevada.  I would be invited to seminars and day camps there and always hoped to teach patterns or self defense and was always assigned to teach sparring.  Eventually I settled into that role and enjoyed it. 

I always took several things mentally with me into every match.  First, I know I trained hard so I wasn’t going to get hurt.  Second my goal was to go the entire match or perhaps several matches without allowing my opponent to clearly hit or kick me.  Blocking, blocking and more blocking, then when the moment is right counter them.  They become more frustrated make silly mistakes and then you counter that.  The sparring match is like a chess game, you have to be constantly thinking and when an opening appears, even though it’s only for a split second you must strike with the correct techniques.  Actually there is no secret to this other than hard training, learning to relax and pace yourself.  I started like everyone else, I didn’t like being hit in the face or kicked hard, but after some time you just get used to the contact and learn how to dodge or block better.  I am not saying you need to get beat on to be better, but you would be surprised at how many people I have seen fall when in my opinion I hit or kicked them with half force.

I entered a large tournament in California as a 3rd degree.  There were many black belts there from other styles and from USTF Taekwon-Do.  I entered at the request of my instructor at the time, now Master Jue.  I had not been running or conditioning so the 2 minute matches were tiring, but I had learned long ago how to conserve energy and to strike only when there was a clear opening.  I can clearly remember that I sparred 7 matches each 2 minutes.  One of the matches was against a 3rd dan that was very powerful and taught Taekwon-Do professionally (meaning this was his job).  He was a well known breaking artist and I thought I was in for a rough match. He was charging hard and throwing very hard technique.  As you will see in most black belt matches sometimes the judges let the contact get out of hand and this tournament was no different.  However what this guy had not counted on was me being able to kick him in the ribs repeatedly with the lead leg side piercing kick.  I will never forget how hard he was kicking and then when I hit him he dropped like a rock and lost the will to fight, even complaining to the judge I was kicking too hard.  I never ever talked to the judges other that to say yes or no sir.  It’s funny how some martial artists can really dish it out but not take it.  The next match was against an even bigger and rougher guy.  After we bowed in he threw a turning kick so hard that my hand gear went flying into the crowd several rows after it made contact with my guarding hand.  While he threw his kicks very hard I noticed he was dropping his hand and he was easy to hit with the lead leg turning kick to the head.  The other matches are a blur now with the exception of the final match for first place.  I sparred a guy from Colorado who was pretty good but a little shorter than me which allowed me to really kick him in the head quite often.  I was warned a couple times to watch kicking him in the face as his nose was red along with his eyes.  After the second warning to me my coach and instructor Master Jue told me to just avoid him for the rest of the match as he thought I easily had the tournament won.  I tried but couldn’t resist as the guy kept charging me, a quick fade back and lead leg hook kick to the face which hit easily and I could hear the “pop” of his nose and the ugly bloody nose.  I really did not intend on that and was disqualified.  Back then you would still be awarded 2nd place in that match, now if you are disqualified you don’t earn a medal.

I never cared about winning a trophy or medal only challenging myself to see if my Taekwon-Do was better than my opponents.  I approached every match to win and if they were not Taekwon-Do to show them that Taekwon-Do was better.  I have to admit the first few trophies or medals you win are very exciting, but that fades away.  I never won a medal or trophy until I was a 3rd degree in patterns competition. Every tournament I ever entered I tried both patterns & sparring.  I was just luckier in sparring.  Always show your opponent respect and be respectful to the judges.  If my opponent was disrespectful to me either in their actions or in charging me to try and hurt me, I did defend myself by throwing harder techniques.  This usually will settle down most opponents.

I share this with you because I have gone through many, many sparring matches.  I have sparred with every set of rules you can imagine, other than grappling.  I have fortunately never been injured sparring except the minor bumps and bruises.  I have never seriously injured anyone either.  All my opponents over the years were my martial arts brothers and sisters who I enjoyed going against in competition.  I never really had the opportunity to try out for a national or international team, so I challenged myself in the open tournament circuits.  I have never felt guilty hitting or kicking, men or women regardless of their belt ranking since I have always felt it is the learning process.  I always try to spar just a level or two above their skill level.  If you don’t match up against those better than you it’s hard to progress.  In order to become skilled you have become adjusted to the contact and get over the nervousness of facing someone you don’t know. 

In the end I wouldn’t trade all the experiences I had for anything.  I hope that I can share some of my experience and success with all my students to make them better competitors and students of Taekwon-Do.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
     
     
       
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