We just had a testing last Monday and a great tournament this past weekend! With our 7 competitors we managed to take home four 1st place trophy's, four 2nd, and one 3rd. Congratulations to all the NAMA students!
Friday we are having a potluck/belt awards at the Yellville City Park if it is not raining. If it is we will have it at NAMA. Starting at 5:00 we will converge and kick things off when everyone gets there. This will be a relaxed event.
Well this has been a very busy year so far! To start, the Choong-Sil Taekwondo tournament in March was awesome. There were over 400 competitors from all over. NAMA students did absolutely amazing. Everyone placed at least once if not twice. Congratulations!
The next tournament will be April 30th in Hernando, MS. We are looking forward to this one as well! Train hard!
In other news, Ms. Jessica has plans to join the Air Force. Her ship date is May 9th if everything goes according to plan. Adam & Mitch Willis will be the instructors at the school while she is away so that it will stay open for business in the meantime. She also plans to keep in touch with everyone at NAMA through email, phone, or facebook. Oh, and of course stopping in when she can!
Ms. Jessica also got married in March to Matthew. They are both looking forward to the many opportunities that are coming up with the Air Force. They may get to indulge in some other martial arts training, some new cultures, and learn more ideas so they can instruct and help even more students as they go along their way together.
Any questions? Email us at email@example.com
Jessica Lasecki announces some “kickin” results from the tournament held in Mt. Juliet, TN at the Christian high school on July 25, 2015. A total of 9 participants from NAMA went and a total of 8 first places, 4 second places, and 3 third places came home! What a tally! John Wade a 4th grade yellow belt placed 1st in patterns and 2nd in one-steps in his men’s division. Ashley Raffee a 3rd grade red belt placed 1st and 1st in the 16 & 17 year old girls division. Antonio DeLeon a 1st grade red belt placed 1st in sparring in the 9 and 10 year old boys division. This was his first tournament ever – congrats! Felicia Lasecki a 1st degree black belt placed 1st in patterns in the 12 & 13 year old girls division. Adam Willis a 2nd degree recommended black belt placed 1st in patterns and 3rd in sparring in the 18 to 35 men’s division. Dominic Giles a 2nd degree recommended placed 1st in patterns in the 11 and 12 year old boys division. Loanne Lasecki a 2nd degree black belt placed 3rd and 3rd in the 16 & 17 year old girls division. Tyler Duncan a 2nd degree decided black belt placed 1st in patterns and 2nd in sparring in the 16 & 17 year old boys division. Jessica Lasecki a 5th degree black belt placed 2nd and 2nd in the women’s 18 to 35 black belt division. Lasecki said, “Everyone did such a wonderful job at this tournament and all of NAMA’s black belts are on a good track for the National Jacket competition in November. Spar Wars on September 19, will be a double point’s tournament. Until then I will be pushing our NAMA black belts hard in their training! We also found out that the next International tournament the CTF will be participating in is in Birmingham London on July 16& 17, 2016. This is very exciting news and we are looking at our training now and will start our fundraising soon.” Lasecki is offering a FREE WEEK of classes for any new student who wants to try it out. A reminder that we have 2 new classes available now, the adult and the yoga classes. A special thank you to North Arkansas Martial Arts sponsors that help make these trips possible for our students : Larsons, John Deer Harrison, Steve and Joy Copeland, Western Sizzlin Harrison, Walter and Anna McNew, Clay Maxey Ford Motor Company, Razorback Ribs, Southern Rock Tobacco Shoppe, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Waggner, Home Depot, Imagine That, McDonalds Harrison, Natures Way, Sandy Baker, & Kelly Smith. If you are interested in sponsoring a child or in taking classes please call 870.736.0571. Look us up on Facebook or checkout our website at: www.namatkd.com.
What a tournament! Loanne and I left at 3:30 am on Wednesday morning heading to Springfield airport. Our flight left at 6:25 am and flew into O'Haire airport in Chicago. We made good time and met up with Ms. Olivia Rosado at O'Haire and had lunch before our flight into Calgary, AB. This is where the trip got good! We went through customs and got our first ever stamp in our passport. From there we went across the street to get our rental car from enterprise. Apparently their elevators in big cities have touch screens and you just hit what rental car you reserved and it takes you to the appropriate level.
So we got our car and off we went - in circles! LOL! We eventually got going in the right direction and got to Lethbridge, AB. Found our hotel and checked in. About that time the rest of Eastern TN showed up! Haha! We met Master Darin Gibson that evening at dinner. He was our tournament host for this event. He also let us use his TKD school two mornings in a row to warm up and get moving after the long trip.
On Thursday afternoon we got to go to Waterton which was about an hour and a half away from Lethbridge right on the US boarder. It was absolutely breathtaking.
The tournament kicked off Saturday with a wonderful opening ceremony. There where many masters and grand masters there including Grand Master C. K. Choi. He is one of the 12 original TKD masters who opened the first TKD school in Vancouver in 1970. We also got to meet many different people. We adopted the Aussies! We love their chant they do when they get excited - Ozzie, ozzie, ozzie, ozzie, oi! (etc it keeps going). Loanne and I had an extremely hard time keeping our accent straight after being around Canadian, British, and Australian people. In fact we failed multiple times and you might here a a weird twang from us if we get excited on Friday during class! LOL!
During the competition team USA did VERY WELL! There were many medals taken home by USA. I'm very proud to say that NAMA took home 4 of those! Dominic Giles placed 1st and 1st, Tyler Duncan placed 1st in patterns, and Loanne Harper placed 3rd in sparring. Now the competition was very different from normal CTF tournaments we attend. For patterns they had to perform the pattern multiple times because there would be 2 competitors called up. Then they would perform and the judges would "point" to the winner of that match. This continued on until the final round for 1st and 2nd. So Dominic and Tyler did their pattern 3 to 5 times! Then all juniors sparring was continuous. So that meant instead of stopping and calling points they just kept going while the judges clicked on their clickers counting points for red and blue players.
Monday morning we left at 2:30 am! We had to drive back into Calgary, AB to turn in our rental car and get back through customs. After that Loanne and I had to run to our plane because we almost didn't make it because of the customs line! After boarding we had to wait an hour because it decided to have a freak snow and they had to de-ice the plane. After landing an hour late into Denver, CO we had to run from gate 32 to 57! Thank God above for those flat escalators! Using those we ran on them to go faster and caught our next flight. WHEW! We made it to Springfield and then back home later that afternoon.
What a trip!
PS. I will be posting competition videos soon! ;)
I just had a fellow black belt ask me the Taekwondo version of the million dollar question. This is interesting because we all know Taekwondo varies so much from person to person, depending on their build, attitude, instructor, and the list could keep going on and on. Yes, I am going to use 1st person so don't cringe when I say you! Haha!
So here was the question:
Good question. What does it take to make the rank and what should the rank look like when doing it? Well I think this should be broken down into life phases related to Taekwondo because ultimately it depends on the person that is training.
Phase I: "Excitement"
Remember that 1st Taekwondo class where you were either terrified or ultimately so wound up with excitement? Yeah, grab onto that feeling. It lasted months which propelled you forward into blue belt. Why did it last you months? Ah, because your instructors teach you new techniques, new patterns, new sparring strategies (or in my case just let you spar into the sparring strategies that work...that's another blog), it is new everything! Upon hitting that blue belt sometimes momentum might fade for a second. Then board breaking and, "A little more hard work" = black belt. Remember that ultimate goal we set for ourselves when we walked into that first class because we saw those students in the front of the line who in some way impressed us to the point we said to ourselves, "I'm going to be standing in the front someday - soon." That thought right there sent us into 1st degree recommended black belt!
Phase II: "Maintenance"
Sometime between a long rank change, for example between 2nd and 3rd degree black belt, we can fall into a "maintenance routine." You know that phase, come to class, do the minimum, you know all your patterns but ultimately did not get anything out of class. Well, you got that social factor AND you were there - you are NOT quitting Taekwondo. Or being the black belt that impresses those new white belts coming through the door for their first class... yeah that circle just happened! :D
Coming to class maintaining the brain to muscle connections while loosing strength, cardio, and tenacity for Taekwondo. Otherwise known as, "going through the motions."
We make excuses like these:
If I go 100% in class I won't have enough energy to cook dinner and study. If I come to class twice a week I won't get anything out of 1 of those and I could be doing ______enter something else you love doing here______. I don't really have to apply myself in class yet because I still have a WHOLE YEAR to get ready for my testing. (Uh, whoa, I only have 6 months left (6 months later...)) This college program I am in is totally taking all my time, I have NO time to practice and if I do it's only for 1 class maybe bi-weekly. I really want to just be lazy and veg on the couch and watch a movie. (Which is OK after your workout ;) And the list goes on....
Phase III: "Inspired into Action"
How do I know this? I have been there. Yes there. Now I am here. While between my 4th and 5th degree testings I had all these excuses and then some! Realization hit me when I went to a tournament and I was 183 pounds and lost in patterns to my friend who was 4 months pregnant...What a wake up call. How had I gotten there? Oh, yeah all those silly excuses.......
I went to Mrs. Hardin the following Saturday and we had a long sit down talk. I was putting college, personal life, TKD students, a whole bunch of stuff, over MY OWN PERSONAL WELLNESS. We came up with a game plan and I stuck to it. I lost 20 pounds over that summer and then finished up the last 10 pounds over a few more months. When I finally tested in March for my 5th degree I was a whole new person. Looking back I think everyone or most everyone in Taekwondo goes through these phases. It's part of life.
The part that is up in the air is what you choose to do about your situation. Do you go ahead and put in that 100% in that workout and be tired while cooking dinner and studying later? Do you go to that second or third Taekwondo class a week and FIND something new to learn or re-evaluate that pivot foot the instructor is calling out to those blue belts only to find it's really yours they are kindly not calling out because you are the top spot black belt the others look up to? Do you ask your instructor after class what you can do better or for a mini workout schedule for during the week to do between classes?
Phase IV: Answer to the original question:
So, after all this evaluating what does a 3rd degree black belt look like? What does it take? Your instructors know exactly what you are capable of, for your body type. They know if you are putting in 200% vs 50%.
If you are working out and doing your 100% best, depending on your age and body type a 3rd degree black belt MIGHT LOOK like a very slow, firm performance ability. They should be able to perform any pattern up to their rank. Sparring should have nice combo's. A proficient ability to break boards regardless of flashiness or simplicity. The key here is that your instructor guides you into what YOU NEED to work on. What the minimum GOALS for your rank are.
But what is rank? Is it a title or a gauge of progress? Sometimes it can be referenced as a title way too easily. It is a gauge of progress. For instance, it is common knowledge that MOST red belts have a lack of control. Ever think why that is true? Ever notice that occasional blue belt or black belt that is this way? It is because after a year or so of training they are getting their hips connected to their hands, their pivot connected to their kick, and so on. This equals a moment where they have loss of control. Everything is "clicking" for them all at once. Until this is realized and they work on their ability to reverse the forward motion they have developed, they will have little to no control over their techniques impact.
A 5th degree is another gauge of progress. It sounds big but what is it really? Well it's a lot of time put in training. But was it all good training? Of course! Even the lows are good. Why? Taekwondo is a vessel to learn life lessons about yourself in. I know after I got off my horse and had the sit down chat, that every time I practice with the Hardin's, elsewhere, OR even while teaching my students that I learn something new each time! Do you have to be a black belt to realize this? Probably not. Everyone comes to it in their own time. Another great thing Taekwondo sneakily does for us. It bends with us in life. Through good and bad.
Simply summed up:
Hope this encourages ya'll to fight another day. (Pun TOTALLY intended!)
Until next time,
Jessica Thelen & Adam Willis.