2013 Southwestern Regional Championships and Dan Shim Sa

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 11:25pm — webmaster
"Tang Soo Do Rocks the South Plains"
“Tang Soo!” was heard shouted across the South Plains the weekend of November 15, 2013.  The weekend began with a Dan Shim Sa (Black Belt Test) and followed by the 1st ever Southwestern Regional Championships, a grand reopening of the recently expanded regional school West Texas Karate, a Leadership Seminar, a Certified Instructor Training (CIT) examination, and an instructor clinic. All events were hosted by West Texas Karate in Lubbock, Texas. The events were complemented by Lubbock hospitality to the many visiting students, instructors, school owners, masters, and of course Grandmaster John St. James.
Kwan Jang Nim St. James, Sr. Master Stacy Busby, Senior Master Debbie Jett, along with regional instructors gathered at Triple J’s Chophouse and Brew Co. for a welcome lunch and planning session Friday afternoon. The restaurant is Lubbock’s only brew pub located in the Buddy Holly and Depot District.
The Dan Shim Sa at West Texas Karate, owned by Kyo Sa Chad Hinkle, began early Friday evening with a written test followed by a physical test. The test was overseen by Kwan Jang Nim who was assisted by Senior Master Stacy Busby, Senior Master Deborah Jett, Master Mark Farquharson, and Bu Sabom Chad Adams. Kwan Jang Nim had invited a special guest, Master Sheffield of Quitman Karate of Lindale, TX to sit on the testing panel as well. Eight students from West Texas Karate participated in the black belt test – four testing for cho dan and four mid-term testing. The grueling examination tested student agility, stamina, and perseverance through basic, intermediate, and advanced techniques, forms, breaking, self-defense, sparring, and continuous physical activity. At the end of the test, Junior Jo Kyo Daniel Martinez, Jr. was awarded Best of Test.
The Southwestern Regional Championships kicked off Saturday morning. Over 120 southwest regional students participated in the championship, many experiencing a championship for the first time. Participants checked in early to watch the black belts compete first. The audience was indeed captivated by the black belt competitions. During the opening ceremonies, two black belts were awarded grand championship trophies – Kyo Sa Alicia Gauna for the Women’s Grand Champion and Kyo Sa Chad Hinkle for the Men’s Grand Champion. Cho Dans were awarded their black belts and certificates following their 6 month probationary period – Bu Kyo Sa Jerry Zamora and Bu Kyo Sa Adriana Zamora. Guests from the Quitman Karate School were welcomed to the event and Master Sheffield presented KJN with a beautiful gift as part of the opening ceremonies.  
Six rings filled the Hutchinson Middle School gymnasium floor to accommodate the many competitors. Competitors were excited as their family and friends watched from the stands. Cheers and applause rippled with each round throughout the event. The energy uplifted competitors to do their best. The championships continued through the afternoon while a Lubbock dust storm rolled in for the afternoon.
Kwan Jang Nim offered autographs and pictures at the Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Foundation table. The Foundation previously awarded the local West Texas Karate North Outreach Program with $1,000 dollars for at-risk children in the form of a grant to help jumpstart the program. All West Texas Karate North students attended and competed in the championship which was quite the accomplishment. These at-risk students are provided martial arts training at no cost. The Foundation continues to locate sponsors and funding to open additional programs through other Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation schools. For donations, please visit http://www.aptsdfoundation.org.
Following the championship, participants, family, and friends were invited to West Texas Karate for a grand reopening and leadership seminar. Kwan Jang Nim kicked off the new leadership program that will be offered at West Texas Karate. The leadership program was designed by Kwan Jang Nim St. James through his years of experience and touring the country’s best run companies, schools, private academies, and institutions to gain even more knowledge of state of the art leadership practices. Next, motivational speaker Andy Hickman, talked with everyone about leadership and parenting while performing magic and comedy. Mr. Hickman has presented for international companies such as AT&T, PENTAX, Goodyear, Microsoft and is an APTSDF student at the Texas Tang Soo Do Academy in Lindale, TX. Mr. Hickman asked the audience to shout “Tang Soo!” whenever they heard or saw something they liked. “Tang Soo!” was shouted repeatedly through the presentation as guests were thoroughly entertained and motivated.
Saturday night, school owners, special guests, and select students were invited to Llano Estacado Winery for dinner. Attendees enjoyed a great dinner and got to sample various wines. A tour of the winery was offered by Mr. Greg Bruni, Vice President Production and Executive Winemaker of Llano Estacado Winery and student of West Texas Karate. Mr. Bruni’s family has always made wine. He eventually brought his expertise to Lubbock, Texas, helping the local winery to flourish beyond all expectations. Llano Estacado Winery is known for award-winning Texas wine. Mr. Bruni and his staff introduced wines with the meal and very special wines with dessert. There was also a very special presentation and gift presented to Kwan Jang Nim by Mr. Bruni which included a bottle of their very best “1836” Cabernet Shiraz.
The weekend was closed out at West Texas Karate on an early Sunday morning with a Certified Instructor Training (CIT) examination and instructor clinic with Kwan Jang Nim and the Masters. Regional Instructors were invited to attend the instructor clinic given by Kwan Jang Nim. Masters assisted with the clinic and offered students additional training on required Tang Soo Do forms and insight into instructing students.


From start to finish the West Texas charm and hospitality made for an unforgettable Southwest Regional gathering. Senior students valued working with the Masters and regional instructors. Newer students experienced a new appreciation of Tang Soo Do through the many events.  As the region continues to thrive and grow, students look forward to more events in the region. A TAC Tour is scheduled for spring 2014 and a Leadership Camp in summer 2014. Tang Soo Do definitely rocked the South Plains and the APTSDF is alive and well in the Southwest. Tang Soo!!
By Kyo Sa’s Alicia Gauna and Chad Hinkle

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