WHITE BELT TEACHES BLACK BELT!
Dear students, parents and friends,
This month’s lead article comes from an experience I had during our dojang’s 30 years of existence. Like many lessons, this one didn’t happen all at once. It took a period of years before I found a deeper meaning than I had previous thought.
It involved a little brother and a big brother. Both boys were very competitive. They loved sports and they loved Taekwon-Do. Both boys worked very hard at their patterns and techniques and they were a joy to teach.
The problem I started to see was when younger brother was practicing in class or in private, his patterns had lots of snap and good technique. But when it came to standing side by side with older brother in a competition situation, the younger brother didn’t perform with such vigor. In tournaments the brothers often had to compete against each other and again, younger brother wouldn’t put forth the effort I usually saw in him. The younger brother did have better technique than his older brother.
I approached the young man on this fact and he came out and said he would feel bad if he would beat his brother. He said he didn’t want his brother to feel bad.
Many thoughts started coming to my head. Was the young man worried about abuse big brother might give in private. Was it that younger brother just didn’t want big brother to dislike him just because younger brother out performed older brother.
I reasoned that it wouldn’t be fair to older brother because when we compete it inspires us to do our best and we strive to do better. By not pushing big brother with a few defeats, the big brother might not reach full potential.
The younger brother and the older brother were promoting up the ranks with a young lady who lined up ahead of them, she was their senior only by starting first. My next piece to the puzzle was that the younger brother, when matched up to compete with this slightly senior student, the younger brother again yielded by not putting usual power in his technique.
I approached him and he said, “She’s my senior, I don’t want her to feel bad.” Again I thought that wasn’t being fair to the senior student. Respect doesn’t falter in competition when both competitors are trying their very best! If the senior student shows disrespect to the younger student just because of defeat in a contest- that would be missing the whole point of our training!
As all our students know, we should only use our physical skills as a last resort in a problematic situation. I would never want to hurt anybody and that’s the way I teach at our dojang. One of my favorite quotes is “the higher the belt the softer the heart.” And as I approach my next birthday of 60, I can’t help but realize I don’t think like I use to decades ago. Things that seemed so important back then don’t mean much these days. Other things had grown more valuable and some things are foggier and others are more clear. I think that is all part of living life.
So many times in our 30 year history I’ve had discussions with students and parents about competition. Some were dead set against competition. Others, that’s all they wanted to do! I’ve found through the years many who loved competition gained inflated egos and the others who disliked competition but still didn’t have a clue on how to proceed in a positive way. Then there were many others who took competition in stride and learned much but stayed humble.
As I grow older I see bullying in competition and showing of arrogance that is unnecessary in today’s world. But then again, that’s all about being human and living in this social media world.
So the lesson that came to me later, when I continued obsessing over the little brother, is perhaps it is a sign of showing respect. Plain and simple. When we show respect it makes us humble. It’s a sign that the person knows they can outperform others but doesn’t need to feel the victory….or maybe that is a grander victory. That kind of showing respect deserves respect right back. Showing respect is one of biggest goals in Taekwon-Do. Something that worried me now filled me with pride.
Although I would still want a student to do their best in every competition or situation in life, respect can also be represented as we strive to reach our potential.
I would be very interested in your interpretation of this story to gain more insight. Please write me a note or pull me aside at class and let me know your feelings of this story.
Sincere thanks, Mark Cashatt
OUTSTANDING STUDENT OF THE MONTH
Every month Master Cashatt chooses a youth Gup (color belt) who has shown outstanding characteristics in class. Every student has a chance to be named once in their Gup life. In Spring every year Master Cashatt names the dojang’s youth “OUTSTANDING STUDENT OF THE YEAR” from the youth roster of the dojang. This promotes a constant reminder for the kids to do their best! This month Master Cashatt has chosen:
Josiah has been a student at our dojang for well over 2 years. He started as a TKD Tiger and moved up in to the regular class and recently earned his Yellow Stripe. Josiah earned this award of OUTSTANDING STUDENT OF THE MONTH because of his perseverance preparing for his Yellow Stripe. Josiah listens to corrections and tries his best with a positive attitude that does not give up! Congratulations to Josiah and the Musselman family.
TUL-A-THON FOR ST. JUDE
Taekwon-Do has the most beautiful and powerful techniques in martial arts. Our patterns (tuls) are well thought out with the scientific common sense of movement and power. If a person is good at performing the 24 patterns of Taekwon-Do, they will be good at breaking boards, sparring and self-defense. Performing the patterns quickens reflexes and tones all the muscles. The challenging kicks and jumps force us to excel at those techniques as we continue to practice.
A TUL-A-THON is a wonderful answer to “not having enough time”. The dojang will be open from 3 PM, Friday, March 8 until 3 PM, Saturday, March 9 in order for our students to come in and just practice their patterns (tuls).
All students are urged to perform at least 40 patterns. Participants must start at saju-jirugi and continue to their present test pattern before starting over. The patterns must be done in order or equal times so that we can keep accurate account of the number. Many records have been set to be broken. The DOJANG record for number of patterns done by everyone together in the dojang is 10,229 patterns set 2012. Present records to shoot for:
TOP MONEY RAISED AT TUL-A-THON $3858 2007
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS AT TUL-A-THON 87 2010
TOTAL PATTERNS DONE BY THE DOJANG RECORD
10220 patterns 2012
MOST NUMBER OF MOVES WHILE DOING PATTERNS
BLACK BELTS: KIERA THOMAS with 16,128 moves in 2015
GUPS: ADAM LUBY (blue belt) 26,426 moves in 2013
LONGEST TIME FOR BUDDY MARATHON 13 hours 25 min. 2011
(by Lawrence Loughery IV DAN and Myles Menardi IV DAN)
TOTAL TULS for each division:
Jr. GUP (age 15 and below) ADAM LUBY 1100 patterns in 2013
Sr. GUP (age 16 and above) KEVIN NICE/ LINDA NICE 280 patterns in 2013
Jr. BLACK BELT(age 15 and below) KIERA THOMAS 512 patterns
Sr. BLACK BELT (age 16 and above) LAWRENCE LOUGHERY
402 patterns in 2011
There will be lots of talk and explanation about the tul-a-thon in the next week. Our TUL-A-THON is a fundraiser for a charity every year. Our dojang has had a charity fundraiser every year of existence. This year we will benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. This important Hospital helps children with cancer and life-threatening diseases no matter what the patient’s family’s income.
Our goal as a dojang is to raise $1000. We have sponsor sheets available at the reception counter for our students to collect donations. We suggest asking for flat donations of $1, $5, $20 or more but participants can also set goals telling sponsors they will be doing “100 patterns” and asking perhaps for 20 cents per pattern. ($20).
The TUL-A-THON brings the strongest facets of TKD together. The patterns (tul) is the foundation of Taekwon-Do expertise and raising money for charity teaches us humility, selflessness, compassion and pride from knowing we are helping so many families.
Students do not need to raise money to be part of the TUL-A-THON. Please sign up on the dojang wall to let us know what time(s) you plan on doing your patterns.
WOOD BOARD BREAKING CLASS
On Thursday, March 14 all students will have the opportunity to break wood boards. We have a designated night every week where we break plastic boards but this is a chance to break the real thing.
All students can attempt two different techniques and ask an instructor for ideas if you can’t decide.
Our “Dojang Records” can only be broken with wood boards so here’s your chance. Check the records at the far left end of the dojang to give yourself some ideas.
The boards cost $3 for a whole board and $1.50 for a half board. Students need to sign up for wood boards by Wednesday, March 13 at the latest. Students can pay for the boards once we know how many were broke.
DON’T MISS OUR BIG TOURNAMENT MARCH 23!
Tournaments have been a part of Taekwon-Do training ever since General Choi started to spread the art farther than just Korea. Once he visited other countries he thought it would be a friendly way of competing- to challenge the practitioner to better themselves in patterns and sparring….and in some tournaments: board breaking and specialty techniques. Then from folks watching tournaments, more would want to learn this beautiful and powerful martial art. Tournaments helped General Choi spread Taekwon-Do.
Competition is a tough concept. It is easy to be a good winner, more difficult to be a good loser. In this day and age we try not to say “loser”, but there is someone who wins and someone who loses in each competition. A person is only a “loser” if they give up. I heard a memorable quote: “I never lose….I either win or learn.”
That is the bottom line about tournaments. It is a very valuable learning tool. When we show the courage to get up and compete it tells a lot about ourselves. Students should try to attend tournaments. Years ago it was a requirement for advancement to compete in tournaments but we no longer require students to compete but it is a valuable learning tool.
We just had our DOJANG CHAMPIONSHIPS in February. Many of you might have attended. Many of our friend dojangs host tournaments throughout the year that many of you have attended. Now it’s our dojang’s turn to have a big tournament.
On March 23 starting promptly at 10 am, we will host the 2019 SOUDERTON INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT. It is an “invitational” because I invite only the familiar dojangs in our area. For the most part it is those schools that had branched off from Master James Murray of Pottstown. Master Murray had promoted me at all my tests up to 5th DAN. He has since retired.
Our dojang students should feel very safe competing in our tournament. We often see “open” tournaments being promoted. This is when all martial artists from different styles are invited. You never know what to expect and you don’t know if the dojang leaders teach the same way…by the five tenets. We want to compete but not at the cost of injuring another competitor.
Students can compete in patterns and/or sparring. Participants can just choose to do patterns. Participants can just choose to spar. They can also do both. We separate the students according to age and then rank. Everyone who competes in individual patterns will go home with at least one medal.
All students white belt through senior Black Belt, age 5 to great grandparents are qualified to compete and can gain so much from the experience. If a participant registers and pays the competition fee by March 16, it will cost $40 to compete ($35 for each additional family member who competes). If a participant waits until the morning of the tournament, they can still compete but it will cost $50 ($45 for each additional family member). We do this to get students to commit and ready themselves. We also do this to get a head count so to have enough awards.
At 10 am, we will start with the National Anthem. I will make introductions of the Masters and dojang owners who are present. I will have some announcements and hand out our dojang’s “OUTSTANDING STUDENTS OF THE YEAR”. After explaining some of the rules, the competition begins with TEAM PATTERNS. Participants plan ahead and put together a team of 3, 4 or 5 students who all do a pattern together in a creative way. We will have a gup division (all students must be color belts: white belt through red belt-black stripe) and Black Belt division (all students must be Black Belts). 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams go home with medals and the 1st place team gets a 39 inch trophy to present to their dojang. Although I love to present other dojangs with these big trophies- I would really like to have our own students win it for our dojang. This year I am asking each clan to put together a team of color belts (gups) and a Black Belt team for TEAM PATTERNS. Please talk to me or Mr. Rich Hollenbach if you are interested in creating a team or being on a team. It costs $10 for each team member to be on a team.
After the TEAM PATTERNS, we start individual patterns. We will start with gup patterns (color belts), then gup sparring followed by Black Belt patterns and then sparring.
Students will have the opportunity to meet and make many new friends. Then the next time a seminar, tournament or camp comes up, the student gets to see their new friends again and fantastic relationships are created.
Please consider competing at our tournament. It is so important that the host dojang has a good showing of their own students….it is like “our home court.” Please contact me with any questions- this is a great opportunity for first time competitors as well as our World Champions.
WE GOT CAMPS THIS SUMMER!!
2019 SPIRIT OF TKD SUMMER CAMP weekend at Camp Innabah hosted by our dojang! May 31, June 1 & 2 ….for all students, kids and adults age 7 and up- it’s a sleepover weekend of fun and training.
2019 ALL BELTS TKD DAY CAMP at our dojang July 15-19, 2019 from 9 am to 3 pm daily. All students, kids and adults, age 7 & up
SAVE THE DATES
MARCH 8-9…TUL-A-THON for St. Jude
MARCH 14…WOOD BOARD BREAK’N 6-7 PM
MARCH 20…MASTER CLASS featuring Po-eun from 7-8 pm.
MARCH 26…BASIX CLASS from 6-7 featuring THROWS
MARCH 23…SOUDERTON INVITATIONAL TAEKWON-DO TOURNAMENT at 10 am.
MAY 31, JUNE 1 & 2…2019 SPIRIT OF TKD SUMMER CAMP at Camp Innabah
APRIL 27…WORLD TAI CHI DAY BANQUET at our dojang from 4-6 pm buffet catered by Yantze Restaurant and Tai Chi demonstrations going on throughout banquet! $30 per person- pick up tickets at dojang.