2011 New England Regional Championships

Wed, 11/09/2011 - 9:40pm — webmaster

The APTSDF held its Regional Championship Tournament on October 15, 2011 in Dover, NH, hosted by Great Bay Tang Soo Do. There were 80 competitors representing four schools. Besides Great Bay, students came from Southbury Academy of Karate and Rivera's Tang Soo Do in Connecticut, and Cambridge Tang Soo Do in Boston.  The Black Belt portion of the tournament took place Saturday morning. The female championship trophy went to Noelle Drewicz, and the male trophy went to Oleg Khodko, both from Cambridge Tang Soo Do.




For many of us in New England, this was our first visit to Great Bay Tang Soo Do. Those who traveled on Friday were subjected to the famous Friday traffic jams, while also being bombarded with heavy rain. The transportation challenges were one of the considerations in scheduling the Dan test for Sunday instead of Friday evening, and this experience certainly validated that choice. Even Grandmaster St. James, flying in overseas from Turkey, spent five hours on a JFK runway before the last leg of his journey to Dover. It is a testament to martial spirit, to see how many students made the trip from Connecticut and Boston, just for the tournament.


Sr. Master Deborah Jett also had a long trip, from Atlanta, Georgia. Joining her were Sr. Master Rivera, Sr. Master Becker, Sr. Master Klacko, Master Duva and Master Trevor Becker, along with Mr. and Mrs. Hebert and Mr. Farquharson.


Great Bay Tang Soo Do is housed in an impressive, historic millworks building, converted into various offices. The events were held in a larger room down the hall from their studio, where spectators could watch the proceedings up close. The walls of the facility have beautiful brickwork and rough-hewn stone, with old wood posts dividing the carpeted floor throughout. These created natural boundaries for the rings, and potential obstacles for the testing candidates. But the Hebert’s were vigilant and prepared: They had staff and students stationed at the posts at critical times, to prevent accidental collisions, so the space was managed exceptionally well.


This was a great opportunity to meet more of the Great Bay students. Many turned out to compete and help make the events run smoothly, whether greeting, score-keeping, or holding for board-breaking. One of the benefits of having a local tournament is that the youngest students can more easily participate, with their families in attendance. If one is judging students who are teens or adults, the atmosphere can be intense, solemn, charged with adrenalin and excitement. When the little ones are competing, there is also an undeniable charm. To glance around the room and see them in this context, reminds us of our legacy, as well as the future of the art we study. I am always grateful to see how considerate, and appropriately gentle and supportive the Masters are when they lead the judging in those rings.


Saturday night became a welcome opportunity to relax together, and greet those arriving for next day's test, at a group supper at Newick's Lobster House in Dover. Over fifty (50) Federation members gathered for great food and even better company in what is sure to become a new tradition to celebrate all the personal and group victories while in Dover.



The Black Belt test was conducted on Sunday morning, October 16. Eleven people tested, including one for re-certification, and one as a pre-testee. Four of the nine candidates were testing for Cho Dan, and five for E Dan. The Best in Test awards went to Suzanne Finnegan (adult) and Nathan Black (youth), both from Southbury Academy of Karate.


The Black Belt test is a momentous threshold to cross, at any stage of advancement. But for some people, it seems to be even more of a rite of passage. I am thinking of Sr. Master Rivera's son, Ryan, who has been training with his father for the years leading up to this point. I had the honor of testing with Ryan on Sunday, and it moves me to ponder how much history, love and support his family brought with them as they watched. The fires of our motivation are stoked in many ways, by so many people, and sometimes from unexpected sources. I feel changed by the experience, in good ways that are hard to describe---and I know I am not alone in that feeling. I came away from this weekend with a strong sense of being fortified by everyone's dedication and sense of purpose.



I am also grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Hebert for taking such good care of us throughout the weekend. I felt their watchfulness over all aspects of the weekend's events, their assistance during the test, and their warm hospitality.

Tang Soo!


In appreciation,

Deborah Winograd, Cho Dan

Southbury Academy of Karate