2012 New England Regional Black Belt Camp & Dan Shim Sa

Wed, 05/30/2012 - 9:54pm — webmaster

The 2012 New England Black Belt Camp was held May 4th, 5th, and 6th in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts at Camp Winadu.


Friday night started with ten students taking part in the Dan Shim Sa (Black Belt test). Best of Test went to Riley Curtin, from Cambridge Tang Soo Do, and Samantha Maxwell, from Great Bay Tang Soo Do. Samantha also took top honors in the written exam with a score of 95%.

While the Dan Shim Sa was taking place, the rest of the group participated in a general workout session led by Mrs. Noelle Drewicz and Mr. Oleg Khodko, both Sam Dans.

After dinner, Kwan Jang Nim St. James gave a lecture entitled "How to Make the Most out of Black Belt Camp" and encouraged camp attendees to Learn, Grow and Share. Among his suggestions were (1) step out of your comfort zone, (2) out-do yourself, (3) be enthusiastic and have fun, (4) be optimistic, (5) learn something new, (6) focus on the task at hand, (7) empty your cup of pre-conceived notions and (8) stay on the training path. Kwan Jang Nim stressed that not only can these suggestions help you get the most out of this weekend but they also can be applied to your daily life whether it 
be in school or work.

Saturday morning began with a choice of dynamic stretching by Mrs. Drewicz 
or breathing and meditation, by Mr. Khodko, for all adults. Both workouts were held outside. It was a cool morning yet invigorating. While the adults were either getting a good stretch or learning some breathing techniques, the children were having a great time doing an obstacle course that was set up and run by Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Fretzen.

After a group photo was taken by Senior Master Rivera, the mid-morning session consisted of a review of testing requirements for our next ranks. Everyone was broken up by rank. Third Dans were led by Grandmaster St. James. Senior Master Rivera had the pleasure of working with the second Dans and Senior Master Klacko worked with the first Dans. The Cho Dan Bos were under the watchful eye of Master Duva and the gup members were led by Senior Master Sattler. 

For our first breakout session, we had the pleasure of picking two out of three activities. The first one was competition sparring with Senior Master Sattler, Bong One Steps with Master Duva and, last but not least, basic and advanced take downs with Senior Master Rivera. All three of these sessions were very informative. I made it a point to ask certain individual throughout the workouts if they were having a good time and learning anything, which of course is why we were there, and everyone I spoke with responded with positive feedback.

After lunch we headed up to one of the basketball courts where Grandmaster St. James demonstrated his awesome techniques using the Bong (staff). Kwan Jang Nim calls it "Mechanics from A to Z". Not only did Kwan Jang Nim explain and show us proper technique in slow motion, but it was amazing to see the speed and skill with which he handles the staff. 

Our afternoon breakout session was intense and one of my personal favorites. Unfortunately we could only pick one out of the three. Senior Master Sattler worked with us on basic knife self defense techniques while Senior Master Klacko worked on practical one-steps from the seated position. This was something that you rarely think of but of course very effective. Senior Master Rivera finished the trio by teaching kicking drills with a partner or in a group setting. 

Prior to Saturday night's dinner, all Black Belts and Cho Dan Bos gathered for some championship judges training which was held by Mr. & Mrs. Hebert, both Sam Dans. At this session we broke up as if we were judging an actual competition and went through some scenarios. This type of training is a must and was definitely needed. Mr. and Mrs. Hebert stressed that we must remain focused as judges and remember the following three basic rules:

1) Make the correct call.
2) Make sure the call is clear.
3) Be committed to your call.

Saturday night's lectures began with an open discussion with Kwan Jang Nim regarding Moo Do Leadership wherein Grandmaster shared the 21 key leadership skills of a Moo Do leader. 

Master Duva followed with CIT and Leadership Training wherein he emphasized the need for current and future Black Belts to carry on the Tang Soo Do tradition through instruction and new studios. He offered encouragement and helpful advice to those considering opening a studio or club within our region.

Senior Master Klacko concluded the lectures with Breaking at Tournaments wherein he discussed the need for educated holders. He discussed several breaking scenarios and demonstrated the proper ways to hold boards, for the safety of the breaker and the holder(s).

Sunday morning's breakout session was again another awesome workout; Senior Master Sattler showed us proper positioning and strikes using the cane. Senior Master Rivera taught Dan Bong techniques and Mr. Hebert taught alternative creative ways to practice hyungs.

Prior to wrapping up the morning, and our 2012 Black Belt Camp coming to an end, Master Duva held a swordsmanship class for all ranks.

Finally, all students and Masters joined together for a group form to the drum cadence, led by Kwan Jang Nim.

In closing I would like to personally thank Kwan Jang Nim and all of our Masters for taking time out of their busy schedules to spend a weekend with us teaching and honing our skills in this wonderful martial art of Tang Soo Do. Hope to see all of you again next year!!!!

Tang Soo!!!!



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by Carlos Gonzalez, Cho Dan -Rivera Tang Soo Do