2013 New England Regional Black Belt Camp & Dan Shim Sa

Fri, 07/12/2013 - 8:30am — webmaster

The 2013 New England Black Belt Camp was held June 14th, 15th and 16th in the campus of Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. Friday night started out with a bang! We had a total of fifteen (15) students take part in the Dan Shim Sa (Black Belt Test) –Nine tested for Cho Dan, two tested for E Dan and four tested for Sam Dan.

Daniel Maibor of Cambridge Tang Soo Do took top honors for Best of Test and also scored a perfect 100% on the written exam. And for the young adults, Best of Test went to Ariel Frasca from Great Bay Tang Soo Do. Congratulations to the both of you on a job well done!

Also testing that night were six individuals, taking their Certified Instructor’s Written Exam.  We are all very pleased and proud to see the level of commitment and leadership they have demonstrated in keeping our organization strong and growing.

While the Dan Shim was taking place, the rest of the group participated in a general workout session led by Mrs. Robin Hebert, Mr. Robert Thomas and Mrs. Angelika Fretzen.

After dinner, Kwan Jang Nim St. James gave several great suggestions on how the event participants could get the most out of Black Belt Camp. What follows is sample of what was discussed:

1) How do you give your best this weekend?

2) Decide in advance and write it down and commit to your decision.

3) Remain focused.

4) Play the game full out

5).If it is to be, it’s up to me.

5) “W.I.N” which stands for, “What’s Important Now”

6)“S.T.A.R” This was a great acronym that Kwan Jang Nim used for both the children and the adults. For the children he said “Stop Think Act Review” and for the adults he had another meaning which he explained as; anything can be achieved in life if we follow “S.T.A.R.”. At this point everyone was looking around at each other and wondering what it meant, after a brief pause he said “Success Through Accepting Responsibility.” This was such a true statement and left us with a bunch of thoughts to end our first night.

Saturday morning began with a choice of Stretching with Mr. Brian Hebert or breathing (Dan Jun Ho Hup) and meditation (Muk Yum), with Mr. Oleg Khodko, for all adults.  While the adults were either getting a good stretch or learning some breathing techniques, the children were having a great time running around an obstacle course that was set up and run by Mrs. Robin Hebert and Mrs. Noelle Drewicz.

After the early morning sessions, International Master A. Rivera, took the traditional group photo which has become one of his favorite duties

The mid-morning session consisted of a review of testing requirements for our next rank. Everyone was broken up by rank. The third Dans were led by International Master Rivera, the second Dans with Senior Master Marc Sattler and the first Dans had the pleasure of working with Senior Master Christian Klacko. The Cho Dan Bo’s were under the watchful eye of Senior Master Jason Duva and the Gup members were led by Mr. Brian Hebert and Mrs. Robin Hebert.

For our first breakout session, the children did dynamic kicking with Mr. Khodko and Self Defense with Mr. Hebert. The adults had a real treat. Special guest instructor Master Mikhail Kuns, Yuk Dan in Hapkido and Sah Dan in Tang Soo Do with the Federation, worked with us on the basics of correctly handling a Korean sword. I must admit it was tough following his footwork and his Korean terminology, but  everyone seemed to be totally focused on what he was teaching us. This session was only supposed to last 45 minutes, but since we were all having such a good time International Master Rivera let us continue training with Master Kuns through his portion of the breakout session.

Our afternoon breakout session was just as intense as the morning session. There were three to choose from.  Master Kuns worked on basic Hapkido footwork. Senior Master Sattler and Master Kuns teamed up and taught some awesome knife self-defense techniques and Senior Master Klacko worked on the art of takedowns.

Prior to Saturday night’s dinner, all Black Belts and Cho Dan Bo’s gathered for some championship judge training led by Mr. & Mrs. Hebert. At this session we broke into groups, as if we were judging an actual competition and went through various scenarios. There were several discussions back and forth regarding what was considered a “warning” for contact and what was a point. The bottom line is, if you see it call it and remain committed to your decision. The general consensus was that the more we do this type of training the better we will become at making the right call the first time.

Saturday night’s lectures began with Kwan Jang Nim talking about the “ Warrior’s Way.”  He began with the five pillars: history, tradition, culture, philosophy and physical action.  Not only do good warriors cultivate their spirit but they live it, they own it, and they are it!  This was a very powerful statement shared by our Kwan Jang Nim.

Kwan Jang Nim also gave us some attributes that warriors live by, that we can also apply to our lives. What follows is a sample of what was discussed:

1)      Be precise and specific about what you want

2)      Believe without a doubt that your goal is attainable

3)      Know what stands between you and your goal. It is often you.

4)      Study as many aspects of your goal as possible. Find a good teacher and study their thoughts, actions, deeds, systems, strategies, and mindset.

5)      Be patient, persistent, and above all else stay committed

6)      Be disciplined by creating a crystal clear plan of action

7)      Take massive action.

8)      Monitor, review and adjust your plan as needed. This is the product of doing a gap analysis.

9)      Continue the entire process and remember it is about the journey and not the destination. Warriors are always on the path.

Senior Master Duva followed with a much-needed refresher class on proper Moo Do using social media. With the growing use of Twitter and Facebook, we sometimes forget who our audience is. We need to remember to connect with people in a positive way, and to always conduct ourselves in a professional and respectful manner and, last but not least, be careful about the topics being discussed. It is about being dignified which is clearly a part of our Moo Do

Mrs. N. Drewicz concluded the evening with a lecture on body awareness and the importance of proper warm-ups before stretching and workouts.  The use of static and dynamic stretching is a very effective way to get fluid to your joints and warm up your muscles. It is also important to understand how our joints move before we can begin to stretch them correctly. Mrs. Drewicz used a door hinge as a comparison to our elbows and knees as well as a ball and socket to compare our shoulders and hips. Understanding the direction of movement is crucial and will help avoid injuries. I was captivated by the amount of knowledge Mrs. Drewicz has in this area. 

After a great Sunday morning breakfast, the six individuals that had started Friday night’s written portion of the Certified Instructors Exam were now taking the physical and oral test, which consisted of running an actual class and being put through different scenarios.

Those not testing broke out into two groups, Mrs. Drewicz worked on sparring techniques and Mr. Khodko held an introductory class to Wing Chun.  After those two sessions, Mr. Khodko and Mrs. Drewicz teamed up with Senior Master Rivera and we did some drills to help us with the proper mechanics of jumping and spinning. Prior to concluding our activities, we all gathered and Senior Master Klacko went over the importance of holding boards correctly for the safety of the breaker and the holder(s) during breaking (Kyuk Pa).

To conclude our wonderful weekend, all students and Masters joined together for group forms. We practiced both Bassai and Sip Soo to the beat of the drum, led by Kwan Jang Nim.

In closing I would like to personally thank Kwan Jang Nim and all of our Masters for making our annual New England Black Belt Camp a success. Hope to see all of you again next year!!!!


Tang Soo!!!!


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by Carlos Gonzalez, Cho Dan -Rivera Tang Soo Do