Oswego’s Taekwondo America recently hosted the 2013 Winter Black Belt Test at the Oswego Middle School.
Heading up the testing board were Rochester’s Master Sung C. Kim and Watertown’s Master Blaine Harding.
Rounding out the testing board were a number of visiting senior Black Belts from the Taekwondo sister schools: Grand Master Kim’s Penfield school, Abbott’s Oh-Do Kwon Taekwondo in Mexico, and from Watertown, Sunset Taekwondo and Weist’s Taekwondo Training Center.
Every six months, Black Belts from the Central and Northern New York Taekwondo schools gather and are provided the opportunity to further their advancement and training as Black Belts.
Once a student obtains his or her Black Belt, continued advancement as a Black Belt is accomplished by “Tip Testing”; each Black Belt student tests their skills and knowledge of the Taekwondo curriculum and in turn earns a corresponding “colored tip” (a colored band affixed to a student’s belt indicating their level of achievement).
The colored bands, in order, are yellow, green, blue, red and brown. A black belt student “Tip Tests” every six months, and after three years, and six “Tip Tests” later, a student is eligible to “Dan Test.”
Fifth Dan is considered “Master” level.
In order to be eligible to test for First Degree Black (First Dan), a student must study and train for a minimum of three years and demonstrate a proficiency in and knowledge of several Poomses (or forms), and numerous self defense, sparring and board breaking techniques.
To be eligible to test for Second or Third Degree Black Belt, a student must continue to study and train for a minimum of three years at each Dan, and demonstrate an even higher level of proficiency in skill and also demonstrate additional knowledge of the philosophy and history of Taekwondo.
At the recent Black Belt Test in Oswego, Taekwondo America’s Brandon Beshures and Cody Vincent tested for their First Degree Black Belt and assistant instructors Desiree Muller and Paul Esdan, Jr. tested for their Second Degree Black Belt.
New First Dans
Brandon Beshures, 11, is a sixth-grader at Fitzhugh Park Elementary School. Brandon is the son of Theresa Gibson and Eric Beshures and he has a brother, Eric, and a sister, Chelsea; his grandparents are Rhea Beshures and John and Marcella Gibson.
Brandon has been studying Taekwondo for 2 ½ years and he says his Taekwondo experience has been fun, and it also involved hard work, but it was all worth it.
Cody Vincent,12, is a sixth-grader and has five brothers and sisters. Cody says he started his Taekwondo experience in 2010 and his family has supported his efforts.
He says it was his mother who pushed for him to enter tournaments and to “find his limits.”
Cody says he has met some really great people during his Taekwondo experience and Taekwondo means a lot to him because it has taught him about perseverance, integrity, self control, respect and spirit and has helped him be a good example to his younger siblings
New Second Dans
Desiree Mullen, 14, is the daughter of Cherie and Dan Mullen. Desiree is a ninth-grader at Mexico High School where she is also a varsity swimmer on the Oswego Laker Swim Club — this year she earned the Rookie of the Year Award.
Desiree says she has been a Taekwondo student for more than four years and is an assistant instructor at Taekwondo America. Mullen says she has made many friends throughout her Taekwondo career and her friends and family have helped her reach the level she is at today.
While training for her 2nd Dan, she says she’s realized just how hard she’s worked to reach her goal and finds her accomplishment an amazing and very rewarding experience.
Paul Esden, Jr., is a freshman at SUNY Oswego and is the son of Michelle and Paul Esden, Sr.; his sister Kali also has a Black Belt in Taekwondo.
Esden says he began his Taekwondo training in 2008, and really didn’t know how far his training would take him. He said he was going to try the best he could to get his 2nd degree black belt and the experience has been was “way beyond (his) wildest dreams.”
Esden thanks Master and Mrs. Pryor for all their work and support, because “without them, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today”!
Taekwondo training places a strong emphasis on respect, personal development and achievement, both physically and emotionally. Both adults and children immediately benefit from the structure and energy Taekwondo offers, challenging each and every student to be their best and always demonstrate respect towards others.
Taekwondo America students train under Grand Master Sam Kim and Master Sung C. Kim of Rochester.
For more information, call Leo Pryor, head instructor at Taekwondo America, 135 E. Bridge St., Oswego 342-2470. Visit our website www.oswegotkdamerica.com.