Taekwondo America students achieve black belts

Pictured with Master Leo Pryor: (back row, left to right) Ryan Yates, Shane Guernsey, Michael Cali, Robin Goodhardt, Amanda Cali and Trevor Schleicher. Front row, left to right, Tyler Bieganowski, Amanda DeRyke, MJ Lilly, Troy Lilly and Caitie Lilly, who tested for her Black Belt last February.
Pictured with Master Leo Pryor: (back row, left to right) Ryan Yates, Shane Guernsey, Michael Cali, Robin Goodhardt, Amanda Cali and Trevor Schleicher. Front row, left to right, Tyler Bieganowski, Amanda DeRyke, MJ Lilly, Troy Lilly and Caitie Lilly, who tested for her Black Belt last February.

On June 14, several of Oswego’s Taekwondo America black belt students traveled to Watertown to participate in the 2014 Winter Black Belt Test.

Every four 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. 

Continued advancement as a Black Belt is accomplished by “Tip Testing” — Black Belt students test 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). 

After earning the colored tips (yellow, green, blue, red, and brown) the student is eligible to “Dan Test.” 

When a student earns their 5th Dan, they are considered a “Master.” Advancement beyond “Master Instructor” is achieved by one’s dedication and involvement in the art of Taekwondo and is at the discretion of an organization’s Grand Master.  

 On June 14,Taekwondo America in Oswego had 10 students test for their First Degree Black Belt. To be eligible to test for First Degree Black Belt, 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. 

New First Dans

Ryan Yates, 15, lives in Fulton with his mother and will be a 10th-grade student at G. Ray Bodley High School in September. Yates has been a Taekwondo student for three years and has also played school soccer since age eight. 

Yates says he’s had a great time training for his black belt test and that Taekwondo training is actually fun while you learn at the same time.  

Shane Guernsey, 16, is the son of Tina Int-Hout and Tom Guernsey and step-son of Jon Int-Hout and Lisa Chase. Guernsey  will be a junior this coming fall at Hannibal High School and has been a school band member for the past six years and also does music editing as a hobby. 

Guernsey started his Taekwondo training in August 2011 and he says it has been one of the best decisions he’s ever made. He also says that being a student of Taekwondo has been a lot of fun and at the same time, it’s also a great workout. He adds the best part is that he’s made a lot of great friends. 

Michael Cali, 17, is the son of Michael Cali and Taekwondo America’s Instructor  Bernadet Pryor and step son of Master Leo Pryor. 

Cali will be a senior at Oswego High School in September and has been a huge part of Taekwondo America’s Summer Camp. He says in the past 10 years, Taekwondo has enveloped his life. 

As a student and now an school assistant, Cali says Taekwondo will influence a person’s life “beyond belief,” no matter what age, weight, or ability; Taekwondo’s philosophy is you should just do your best. 

Cali says he has had the privilege of working with the school’s students in all age groups: children, adults and teens as well as special needs children. Cali says  no matter what path your life is taking, Taekwondo involvement will improve it in every aspect you can imagine.

Robin Goodhardt, 49, lives in Fulton and is a commercial lines insurance rater and has been a Taekwondo student, training for three years. 

Goodhardt says her Taekwondo training has not only taught her valuable self-defense lessons, but offers her an excellent physical fitness program combined with life philosophies which help one be a better person. 

Amanda Cali, 15, is the daughter of Michael Cali and Taekwondo America’s Instructor Mrs. Bernadet Pryor and step son of Master Leo Pryor. 

She is an honor roll student at Oswego High School and will be a sophomore in the fall. She begins her third season as an Oswego High School Marching Band member and has been a Taekwondo America assistant during her spare time.

Amanda Cali says she has been a Taekwondo student for the past 10 years and says of her training has been an amazing experience and a great opportunity to meet wonderful people.  

Trevor Schleicher, 13, is the son of Kim and Joe Schleicher of Fulton and brother to Mikaela Schleicher. He will be in eighth grade at Fulton Junior High this fall and has earned the school’s Perfect Attendance Award. 

Schleicher has been a Taekwondo student for three years and says his training has taught him valuable self defense lessons and has consumed his life in a very positive way.

Tyler Bieganowski, 12, is the son of Ginger Bieganowski of Oswego and will be in seventh grade at Oswego Middle School this fall.

He is a member of the Oswego Marching Band where he plays saxophone. He also has been a member of Oswego’s baseball teams. 

Bieganowski has been involved in Taekwondo for five years and says he has enjoyed training, while at the same time he has learned how to defend himself should he ever encounter a situation requiring such skills. 

 Amanda DeRyke, 14, is the daughter of  Robin Goodhardt and Paul DeRyke. DeRyke will be a sophomore at John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix this fall and has been a member of its cross country track team for the past three years. 

DeRyke has been a Taekwondo student for three years and says Taekwondo has taught her not only self defense moves, but, more importantly, how to treat elders and others with respect. 

Taekwondo training emphasizes always being respectful and having self control in all situations, which helps an individual avoid doing anything they might later regret. 

MJ Lilly, 10, is the son of Dawn and Marty Lilly of Oswego, and brother of Caitie Lilly, also a black belt. Lilly will enter the sixth grade at Kingsford Park Elementary School in Oswego this fall, and has been active in the school’s chess club. 

He is also a Scout and has been involved in Oswego’s baseball and basketball programs. Lilly has been a Taekwondo student for three and a half years and says Taekwondo is fun but it also teaches you self-defense and respect.

 Troy Lilly, 7, is the youngest son of Dawn and Marty Lilly of Oswego. Troy began his Taekwondo training as a member of Taekwondo America’s Tiny Tigers program.

He is the youngest student to earn a black belt at Taekwondo America. Troy attends Kingsford Park Elementary in Oswego and is also involved in basketball, baseball and Cub Scouts. 

Troy says Taekwondo training is AWESOME; it’s a lot of hard work, but very rewarding. Taekwondo involvement keeps you busy and fit and also helps you learn about respect and being respectful.

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. Grand Master Sam Kim is one of the highest ranking Black Belts in the United States and third in the world. 

For further information call Master Leo Pryor, at Taekwondo America, 133 E. Bridge St., Oswego, at 342-2470. Visit our website at masterpryortkda.com

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