SEQUIM — Six students from the Bodystrong Taekwon-do Academy in Sequim tested for their black belts in Clackamas, Ore., earlier this month.
The Monarch Conference Center was the venue on Oct. 10 for the 2020 Northwest area black belt test, officiated by Grand Master Renee Sereff, the world’s first female Grand Master and head of testing for the United States Taekwon-Do Federation (USTF).
Even in these times of no contact, Bodystrong students have continued to train and improve their skills. The following students tested and were promoted to black belt or the next level of black belt:
Craig Fahrenholtz, 4th dan; Linda Allen, 4th dan; Adrian Golbeck, 2nd dan; Jessica Golbeck, 1st dan; Aron Golbeck, 1st dan; Hunter Muckley, 1st dan.
The black belt test consists of:
Patterns — memorized attacks and defenses against an imaginary opponent, varying in length from 19 to 72 techniques.
Sparring — demonstration of techniques against an opponent utilizing correct placement of appropriate technique.
Breaking — destruction of wood boards and concrete tiles in a demonstration of power achieved by the individual.
With successful tests, each student was promoted to their next rank. Three students — Jessica and Aron Golbeck and Muckley — become brand new black belts. Adrian Golbeck achieved a “best at test” award, while Fahrenholtz and Allen were promoted to fourth degree and are now considered instructors in their own right.
In the 1960s and ’70s, fourth-degree black belts were titled “International Instructors” and went to other countries to promote and proliferate taekwondo. With taekwondo being more popular worldwide today, 4th dans are tasked with promoting the martial art locally.
In the afternoon, Grand Master Sereff conducted a seminar for all at the Mocharc Conference Center. As well as physical training, Grand Master Sereff also provided anecdotes from the days of training and traveling with the founder of taekwondo, General Choi Hong Hi.
Back in Sequim, Bodystrong’s head instructor, Master Brandon Stoppani, made presentations to the black belts. Fahrenholtz and Allen received swords to mark the momentous occasion. As traditional in Bodystrong, the new black belt received taekwondo encyclopedias.