2018 APTSDF International Championships and Ko Dan Ja Retreat/Shim Sa

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 7:18pm — webmaster

The beautiful B Resort & Spa, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, welcomed the Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation for their Annual Ko Dan Ja Retreat / Shim Sa and Bi-Annual Championship event. Competitors traveled from near and far in anticipation of a gathering that would include representation from as far as our sister federation, Asia Pacific Tang Soo Do, in Australia!

The Three Treasures: Compassion, Moderation and Humility was the theme for the 2018 Ko Dan Ja (Masters Retreat) and Shim Sa (testing) held July 18th and 19th. From start to finish, the opportunities to learn and enjoy fellowship were limitless. Masters and Masters Candidates came with their cups empty and ready to be filled with information to bring back to their schools and students. All participants knew that whenever this group comes together, there is always an opportunity to learn something, from anyone, no matter their rank. Having the humility to know that you are always a student, learning and absorbing everything presented to you was undoubtedly the best way to enjoy these two days.
This year’s agenda was special. Not only did the members of the Ko Dan Ja group work hard training physically, mentally and with Moo Do Shim Gong (martial spirit), but they also had the opportunity to take Healing Warrior Society Classes. These classes promote wellness in all aspects of one’s life (Think Well – Eat Well – Move Well). The Healing Warrior Society aims to bring the importance of complete wellness to people everywhere, not just martial artists.
Although it was sad to have Ko Dan Ja come to an end (it seems there is never enough time), the Masters and Masters Candidates had a lot to look forward to Friday and Saturday!
Excitement was in the air all through the day of Friday, July 20th. The fellowship began with CIT Leadership seminar in the morning with Kwang Jang Nim St. James, as he outlined best practices for giving our students the best in martial arts instruction through both great technique and personal connections before directing the group to International Master Michael Jett on the floor, who guided the Instructors in training through essential fundamentals.
In welcoming the travelers, Kwang Jang Nim St. James addressed the gathered martial artists and their friends and family, assuring all that they would be in for tremendous growth and fellowship in the coming seminars and in competition. All who entered the Ballroom of the B Resort and Spa were treated to splendid displays of baskets from across the federation as donated by the various member schools, as well as by an array of federation memorabilia and an army of Black Belts stationed at check-in tables and helping our travelers feel at home.

In the early afternoon, in anticipation of the competition to come, both competitors and family members alike had the opportunity to choose from a number of seminars taught by Masters of the federation. Whether with Master Rachel Chisum who was pushing students to feel the flow of real-world combat self-defense or with Master Antonio Rivera who took his group through quiet meditation that manipulated energy, each student had the chance to observe and learn from a great specialist in some variant of our wide-ranging discipline in each session. Master-candidate Mr. Paul Harmon led knot-tying, Master Oleg Khodko worked on focus and breathing, Master Michael Jett led staff/bong fundamentals, Master Jason Duva provided initial Healing Warrior training, and Master Christian Klacko taught a combination of Il Soo Sik and Kyul Hap Ki Sul. Many others offered their guidance to make this an experience beyond competition.

After a dinner break, however, the competition itself got underway with the Creativity Demo Competition from schools in the Federation. Crouching Lion Tang Soo Do from Vermont kicked off the competition with a beautiful rendition of Shil Ki from Pyung Ahn forms. Thunderbird Martial Arts from Albuquerque, New Mexico offered impressively coordinated karate fundamentals, Chandler Family Martial Arts of South Carolina preformed explosive moves and feats of individual skill, and the combined team of Karate World of North Georgia and Eagle Leadership Martial Arts displayed tight choreography with a wide range of martial skills (both Tang Yang and Tang Um). After all scores had been tallied, the combined team of Karate World of North Georgia and Eagle Leadership Martial Arts won the trophy and the chance to perform again on Saturday during opening ceremonies.
During Saturday’s opening ceremonies, attendees were honored to witness as Master Christian Klacko was promoted to Chil Dan (7th Degree) and Master Jason Duva was promoted to Yuk Dan (6th Degree).
Black Belt competition was underway after the thrilling demonstrations, and tremendous sportsmanship and Moo Do spirit appeared throughout the tournament. Some competitors, however, stood apart from the crowd in their performance and were awarded Championship Cups. They are listed below.
ATPSDF International Championship Cup Winners




Men's Grand Champion

Matthew Chandler 

Chandler Family Martial Arts

Women's Grand Champion

Zoila Urbani

Great Bay Karate

Men's Black Belt Champion

Terrence Tan

Cambridge Tang Soo Do

Women's  Black Belt Champion

Sarah Evreniadis

Asia Pacific Tang Soo Do

Youth Men's  Black Belt Champion

Ansh Shaw

Karate World of North Georgia

Youth Women's  Black Belt Champion

Cynthia Lopez

Thunderbird Martial Arts

On the final day of competition, one that would generate huge support for Master/Sister Navarra’s initiatives through the APTSD Foundation, and would see over 50 new Founding Members of the Healing Warrior’s Society, the spirit of togetherness and effort was felt by all. Competitors embraced in congratulations when they saw deserving talent and preparation. Judges and spectators alike cheered on the winners which included everyone who attended whether or not they brought home a medal or cup. Family supporters gathered for hugs and photos, and many ordered the special highlights DVD which was created over the weekend thanks to Mr. Lamboloto of Texas. Alex Watson-Jones, Sah Dan circulated all the while taking pictures to immortalize the experience. After all was said and done, everyone was ready to smile and to celebrate. Kwan Jang Nim St. James pulled some strings to make sure the APTSDF group ended this week with yet one more great experience. Everyone enjoyed themselves Saturday evening at Medieval Times in Kissimmee, Florida. Our fearless group of 124 strong cheered on the blue knight who took the title! What a great way to end our time together!
Tang Soo!!!

 Click to view Photo Gallery

 by Master Laura Lee Sandberg
and Mr. Mathew Davis, E Dan