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Essays from Blackbelt Test Students
Name                                Dan                               Test Date          Test #                       Photo
Samantha Baccam        
Temporary Black Belt Test 
June 9, 2012     
Test #231

The reason why I started Taekwondo is because I was tired of doing the same sports year round; like basketball and track. I really wanted to try something new that will keep me active and motivated. I always get picked on when i was little till now. They would make fun of how I dress or acted. Whenever I look towards them they would laugh at me. I think to myself, “what did I do wrong?? or “what did I ever do to you guys?? Everyday I hear people always say Taekwondo is not a sport but I wanted to prove them wrong. That's when I was introduced to Xayasouk Taekwondo.

It all started when my little brother and sister took Taekwondo before me, and I was pretty sure it sounded really stupid. But two weeks passed, I really liked it. I kept going everyday learning Taekwondo. Then, when I was an orange belt I had to quit. My family was too busy with work and paying the bills. I mostly, had to focus on school work and helping around the house. About two years later, I wanted to do Taekwondo again. So everyday I try to convince my mom over and over until she said yes. Then she finally did but I had to promise her that I would keep going to Taekwondo every single day, even when I'm going out for sports, and focus on my school work too. My mom took me to the East side to start Jung's Taekwondo and then everything starts there. 

The only thing that Taekwondo helps me with is making myself show more confident and letting me control my "emotions." the reason why I chose these two because I'm always scared to do something but when I started at Jung's I was a whole new different person. I could do anything that now involves with pain and some injuries. But controlling my emotions is totally different. I would always get mad and yell at people for no reason and I would punch things; like doors or walls. It always happens at school but I changed now by learning self control. I still tend to do it but I have to stop and think. 

I think this helps me at school because it encourages me to push myself to the limit on agilities and track. It also helps me study for exams. I could be able to run one lap within 1:18 by sprinting. It's just like using all your energy at Brown Belt testing. The most important one is studying for exams. It's like you're trying to memorize all the meanings of forms and commands in one whole day.

The reason why I want my black belt is I've worked so hard for the past two and a half years learning all my forms, practicing my meanings, and putting all my effort at testing. I always dreamed of becoming a black belt. I don't wanna show off and think I'm better at then everybody else. I wanna learn self discipline, self control, and the way of art. So if I failed this testing then I wasted all my hard work and time. (Mostly my parents money) Also another reason is I love sparring. It seems like its the only thing I'm good at (not really) but it just keeps me energized. I don't care how many people I go against or how my bruises I will end up. I just wanna do what I love doing the most. 

As you can see, I wanna keep doing Taekwondo even when I'm at college. I wanna keep doing what I love because that's what I'm good at and I put so much work into it. I hope other people can join Taekwondo and know what it feels like. 

Taekwondo Essay
Vanessa Baccam

Have you ever felt alone? Like an outcast? Ever since I was a little girl, I had no friends, no one to talk to, even the teachers never noticed me. You might as well think of me as a loner. I’m the type of person who is quiet, shy, independent, an introvert. Everyday, I always get picked on. They would physically bullied me, but I would never speak up or do anything except cry. When I come home from school, I would always find bruises on my arms or legs from those little immature kids. They would laugh at me whenever i get in some kind of hurtful accident. But my teacher never really cares what happens to me. She would look at me for a few seconds before she goes back to doing her own thing. As you can see I’ve been bullied a lot when I was in elementary school. But this problem has been going on for at least nine years. I was also abused physically by my babysitter. She would force us to work outside no matter what the weather was like. If we made one small mistake, she would either hit us or tell us we get no lunch to eat. Now this year was the most catastrophic event that has ever impacted me in my life.

It started maybe four or five months ago. All the rumors and lies kept on building up until this one certain girl pushed it way too far. She was the first person to actually make me bawl my eyes out this year. I have suffered through the hurtful words even the agonizing pain. I just couldn’t handle it anymore. That’s when I thought my only option was attempting suicide. My friends has been helping me get through this but they just couldn’t change my mind. I had a blunt knife by my bedside. It was when I was talking to my friends on Facebook. I picked up the knife then put it right beside me. Afterwards I typed to my friends, “What’s the use of living my life if it meant that I have to live through what those people are saying about me and doing to me? Listen I have a knife in my right hand, in my other, nothing. Why would I want to choose the one on the left meaning I have nothing to actually appreciate through life? I could end my life this very moment and I wouldn’t have to feel anymore of the painful sufferings.? They cried for me and texted or messaged me every second to stay strong through the end. 

My school counselor was the one that made this situation worse than ever. My school grade started dropping even my GPA. She thought she was doing the right thing by pulling me out of class and yelling at me. If I didn’t tell her anything then I would’ve been inside a room, isolated. She even called my mom to take me to the hospital because she thinks I was crazy at the time. The doctors told me told me I was in some sort of deep depression since I wouldn’t eat anything or speak at all. She said if this problem doesn’t end then I would’ve gotten suspended for who knows how long. Now that I think back on this, gruesome memory I really should have think about my goals and dreams. Should I give up and let everything, my hard work go to waste, or actually stand up for myself. That’s when one of my friends told me to be the most confident girl on this world. Walk with your shoulders high, chin up and just tell those people that they are just being rude and immature, and it doesn’t affect me at all. 

This the reason why I joined and never stopped taking Taekwondo. My one true dream and goal is to be a black belt or higher than that. Then one day I can open up my own Taekwondo school and my future students what I’ve learned from this place. One day I will achieve this goal and finish this through. Why? Because it has taught me discipline and it gave me some confidence. I’ve made some new friends here and I feel like this is the type of sport/art I have dominated, besides Track. 

Taekwondo has a lot to offer and it gave me some beneficial skills. For example, I have more energy which lets me focus more in school, gave me discipline which I use to listen and respect my peers around me. It also helps me with my self control; thinking through my problems before I take action on it. Before, I used to take Xayasouk’s Taekwondo. I was an orange belt at the time. But I never really learn and experience a lot from that place. All I did over there at the time was learning the form and how to spar correctly. It never occurred to me that each move I make is to be perfected. I rush through the forms never thinking about how good it looks. I can see it was a waste of time and money. But it did helped me when I rejoined two years later over at Jung’s Taekwondo. This time, it was better. It can be stressful sometimes remembering all your three steps/one steps sparring. Even the terminology is hard to memorize and remember.

If I get my black belt, I would be so proud of myself. I would look back and say, “Wow I’ve came this far, and I can’t believe this would actually happen.? It took me at least two years to achieve this. Going through the sweat and tears was all worth it and now I’ve risen higher in the belt rankings. But what I’ve learned from Rick English is that he quoted, “ Being a black belt is nothing more than a belt tied around your waist. Being a black belt is a state of mind and attitude.? It’s not something you should be bragging about and showing it to people. It’s means that you’ve worked hard to earn it the right way. Some who get their black belts will just quit right away, knowing that you just came for only that. But those who keeps on going will show that they have the dedication to never stop and to dig through it until the end. I want to be those black belts who has that dedication and the will to never stop. That is what being a black belt is all about.

My Tae Kwon Do Experience 
Talon Lamb
Jung’s Tae Kwon Do, Tama Branch
Temporary Black Belt Test
June 9th, 2012 

My Tae Kwon Do Journey when I first joined Tae Kwon Do I did so because my friends and mother joined. As a white belt I mostly remember learning Chon-Ji. As a white belt Tae Kwon Do seemed to be getting dull since I learned only two forms continuously but this was to be one of the most important reasons that would benefit me gratefully later on.As my yellow and orange belts came, I thought it was getting more interesting and started learning my definitions. I’d like to say that my green and blue belts were the turning point in my journey for Tae Kwon Do. I learned more about the five tenets of Tae Kwon Do: Be courteous by being polite to others. Show integrity by always tell the truth. Show perseverance by never let anything stand between you and success. Demonstrate self-control by controlling your actions. Finally, and most important to me, is indomitable spirit, give it the full 200% at everything and never let people overcome your will. During this time I was able to do a good flying sidekick. I wasn’t as good as I was now but I put in the time and effort to learn it. This is one of the reasons I think indomitable spirit is most important. With this in mind, I continued and trained harder than ever.Finally the big day I was made a brown belt. I silently congratulated myself but I knew my journey was still far from over. As I got more in depth with the 5 Theories of Power my Tae Kwon Do forms were significantly better. Teaching was another job for us to do. As I taught I became nervous because sometimes I would think I would be teaching the wrong moves but thanks to my instructor, Mrs. Knock, other black belts, and my fellow brown belts in the end I taught confidently.Black belt class also helped very much with learning which forms are being changed, working on hand and foot techniques, and of course having fun. I have reflected my journey as something unique. Some of my friends left but I continued to stay. I wanted to keep in mind of the 5 tenets in my head and achieve my goal of becoming a black belt. As I continued going through more tests I started to become more relaxed but still had the anxious feeling. As I passed my last test to become 1st permanent I realized how close I was at becoming a black belt. I looked around and saw how far some of the students I had taught were becoming blue and even brown belts. 4 years of dedication, sweat, and even some blood. I started thinking “What if it doesn’t stop there?? Since I became a brown belt it was just black belt and then I’m finished. I am still wondering though if I could become possibly a 5th Dan if I continued. Nevertheless, Tae Kwon Do has taught me to give it everything I got, and if someone says you can’t do it prove them wrong.

What My Tae Kwon Do Journey Has Meant to Me 
Darcy Lamb
Jung’s Tae Kwon Do, Tama Branch
Temporary Black Belt Test
June 9th, 2012 
email: lambdarcy@yahoo.com

                                          When I first started my Tae Kwon Do journey it was an activity which allowed my son and I to have some time together  
                                       each week. I knew as he approached his teenage years, I wanted to have some common ground, an activity that would be fun
                                       and give me a piece of his time. I also thought to myself that starting Tae Kwon Do at the age of 40 would get me off my butt to 
                                       workout at least twice a week.Watching Talon has been a joy and a struggle and we continued along the Tae Kwon Do 
                                       journey. I am pretty sure I drove him a little nuts making him show me forms over and over again, helping me with one-steps 
                                       that I seem uncoordinated enough to learn and making him help me count in Korean, which is something I never 
                                       anticipated learning in my lifetime. But I have also grown to learn and enjoy the fact that this whole process was never about for 
                                       me, but to bring my son Talon to the great honor of holding a black belt and achieving something for him. I have watched him become quite good at the sport, in my opinion. I have watched him struggle to land a flying sidekick as an orange belt, to someone who can hit the bag to the ceiling with a solid, hard kick. He has become the inspiration for me, as scared and nervous as I am, to stand in front of you today.As Talon and I have progressed belt by belt, it was my instructor, Mrs. Knock who kept me on this journey. Mrs. Knock has always believed in me when I did not have the faith in myself. She has been a constant source of strength for me and there is not enough word of thanks I can give her for the past four years of support.I honestly never thought I would get to the point of testing for a black belt. I stand here today hoping to be a testimonial to the incredible person Mrs. Knock is as a teacher. My goal today is to make her proud.I would also like to express thanks to all of my black belt class teachers, Grand Master Jung, Master Gibson, Master Phillips and Mrs. Knock. The four of you have taught me the importance of being the best Tae Kwon Do student I can be. When I was a lower belt, I consistently judged myself against the others standing on the floor with me. All of you have taught me to make sure the only person I compete against on this floor is me. There will always be those who can hit harder, break more boards, have more strength or kick higher. You have taught me that being the best is doing my best. Pushing myself to do a little better each time and discovering something new each and every day. The process of learning Tae Kwon Do is a continous journey, which will never end.I hope I achieve a goal today that I would have never imagined I would have, which is to become a black belt. My friend, Master John Rich said me at the beginning of my Tae Kwon Do journey in 2008 “There are people who have black belts, and there are people who ARE black belts. Darcy, strive to be the latter.? I hope to make him and all of you proud and be the latter.After I leave this floor today, my journey takes me back to my Do Jahng in Tama. I want to help others in my class. I have watched students who are scared to break boards, shatter three in one board breaking session. I have had the honor of working with new white belts to learn a low block, high block and a front snap kick, along with the other 10 basic movements. I have watched students who were timid and scared become strong brown, blue and orange belts. My new goal is to get them where I am today, hoping to add three new black belts to the Tama Branch of Jung’s Tae Kwon Do. Go Talon and Joe! Although I am scared, I know you will both bring me strength on this floor today. And I also know, Mrs. Knock will be standing in my corner to help me with this frightening part of my journey. I can never thank her enough regardless of the outcome today.Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see, it is just a tiny spark that whispers every so softly "you got this." I hope today I can prove to you I have the will to be a black belt who makes you proud. 

Teachers as Student
Hunter Woodley
2nd. Dan Test Essay
April 2012
email: woodhu01@luther.edu

This June will mark the completion of my fifth year as a student of Taekwondo. Over the past five years many things have 
changed in my life: breaking my leg, graduating from high school, and attending Luther College to name a few. Perhaps the
 most important change, in terms of Taekwondo, was becoming a Taekwondo instructor for students at Luther. Although I had
 helped at my home dojang in Edgewood, it was mostly things like teaching the new blue belts Yul-Guk or leading a few 
classes. While these are of course great experiences, there is nothing quite like having your own class of students who are 
relying on you for instruction. By teaching Taekwondo at Luther I have learned many essential lessons and developed an even 
stronger relationship with the martial art.
When I left home for Luther, I knew that I wanted to continue practicing Taekwondo so I would occasionally go to the gym to 
work out and review techniques and whenever I returned home I would attend classes. During my sophomore year (I am currently a junior), I began to exchange martial arts knowledge and skills with one of my Chinese Religions professors who knew the Chinese martial art Xingyi. At about this time my girlfriend (who had earned her 2nd brown belt through Jung’s Taekwondo) and some of her friends expressed interest in learning and I had the start of my first class.
The summer following my sophomore year, I stayed at Luther as a maintenance worker and continued to work with the religion professor as well as his son and some friends. Due to the increasing number of students I knew I would have in the fall, I contacted the gym at Luther to try reserve a room for us to practice in. In addition to the reservation, I was also offered a work study position where Luther would pay me to teach Taekwondo. While my original goal was simply to reserve a room, I decided getting paid would be nice too so I agreed. A semester-and-a-half later I now have eleven students in my class and they are beginning to progress through the ranks. 
Through my experience teaching Taekwondo I have learned many things, the first of which is that in Taekwondo, one never ceases to be a student. As they say, the best way to learn something is to teach it, and Taekwondo has definitely proven this to me. For instance, when teaching a new technique I find myself carefully concentrating and thinking out the subtleties of the movement at a level beyond the concentration used when I “learned? the technique for the first time. As I teach I continually notice more and more intricate details of the art of Taekwondo.
In addition to gaining more knowledge about the movements themselves, being a Taekwondo instructor has also taught me important communication and teaching skills. Every person learns things in a slightly different way and at a different pace. As an instructor I begin to learn about these characteristics and adapt my teaching style accordingly. In order to adapt, one first has to perceive the need to do so, which once again requires concentration. As I teach, I try to observe everyone in the room in order to see what they are struggling with in addition to what they excel at. I praise them when they succeed and help them when they need it. I believe the abilities to perceive and adapt are essential to being an effective instructor as well as being essential during any sparring match. I have found that instructing Taekwondo is one of the most effective ways of cultivating these skills.
Even after becoming an instructor, I am constantly learning from my students and further developing my understanding of Taekwondo. Unfortunately I will just be teaching at Luther for one more year and then it will be off to graduate school for East Asian Studies. After leaving Luther, I plan to continue practicing and advancing in Taekwondo. Hopefully I can continue teaching wherever I go, maybe even in China or Japan!

Hunter Woodley                   2nd.                              April 2012           #230
Jane Christiansen                1st.                             Au. 11, 2012         #232
Vanessa Baccam    Temporary Black Belt               Jun 9, 2012           #231
Samantha Baccam  Temporary Black Belt               June 9, 2012         #231 
Talon Lamb             Temporary Black Belt               June 9, 2012         #231
Darcy Lamb            Temporary Black Belt               June 9, 2012         #231
​Don Wells                             8th                            Dec. 8th, 2012

Jane Christiansen
First Dan Black Belt Test
Tae Kwon Do Essay
email: scotjane@alpinecm.net

   When I tell people that I study Tae Kwon Do, often someone will ask if I have ever had the use what I know outside of class. I smile and tell them that I use Tae Kwon Do everyday! I then have to explain that I do not have to physically defend myself daily, but Tae Kwon Do is so much more.
My son, John, started Tae Kwon Do the beginning of his freshman year of High School. Even though he was not overweight, he hated gym class and had no desire to be part of a sports team. Tony McDowell, a classmate of John’s, showed great patience as he worked with John on Chon-Ji. The atmosphere of respect and success helped John to work hard and improve. Along the way he memorized the tenets of Tae Kwon Do, but more importantly, he practiced them. I believe that Tae Kwon Do has helped John to develop his confidence and social skills. John has greatly enjoyed his interactions with Mr. McDowell and many other black belts. He uses what he has learned in Tae Kwon Do every day.
  It was for this reason that I started Tae Kwon Do. I need the physical exercise and have enjoyed that people that I have meant along the way. As the stresses of life wane and ebb, the scheduled classes provide me a release, both physically and mentally. It is such a challenge to continually learn new forms and remember the previous ones. Each colored belt has been a goal that I have had to persevere to reach and has demonstrated my indomitable spirit.
As I practiced for this test, I have focused on the importance of balance. Every movement needs to be done in balance. The stance is very important, of course, but also the knees, body, shoulders and head. Reaction force allows for full power in every move. Imagining breaking a board with each kick and blocking real punches helps me to go full out and improve my strength. Moving with speed also increases the power of punches and kicks. Breathe control allows for maximum power if I am providing the oxygen my muscles need. Concentration is needed for the focus required to be present in the moment. Other problems and concerns are temporarily put on the back burner when I am practicing.  
As I look at my temporary black belt, I am aware of how far I have come, but I realize I have so much room for improvement. Basic movements can be made bigger, sharper, and with additional power. My technique can always be improved and I know I need to be more consistent. Being a black belt means that the colored belts are behind me, watching. I definitely remember watching the black belts in front of me during class and hoping one day that I could earn a black belt. I may get to wear a black belt soon, but I need to earn it every time I put it on. This is a responsibility that I will take very seriously and will always work hard to wear my black belt with confidence and humility.

​How and Why to build the World's Largest Tae Kwon Do Class
Don Wells
Martial Arts America
8th Dan Black Belt
Dec. 8th, 2012

First, let me say I have humbly accepted Grandmaster Jung's statement that he believes ​​we have to world's largest brown and black belt classes. I would like to thank him, Master Eric Heintz, and Master Kaye Bair for my training. 

At Martial Arts America in Ankeny, Iowa, a population over 40,000, we have over 200 brown and black belts who train weekly at one of the two classes available for only brown and black belts.

The following are some of the reasons I believe we have the number of students- the HOW-

​​ 1. They should be doing 3-5 regular classes each week..
 2. Attend brown and black belt class once each week..
 3. Attend events, test days, tournaments, demonstrations, etc.
 4. Cross training, outside of class, weight lifting, jogging, sprints, swimming biking, yoga, etc..
 5. Community service, board breaking fundraiser for our foundation, roof houses, help animal shelter (money or time)
 6. Follow ALL rules, consistent few exceptionsollow ALL rules, consistent few exceptions.
 7. Respect seniors, bowing, yes sir/ma'am, should be automatices sir/ma'am, should be automatic.
 8. Overcoming any obstacle, small; tired, sick, large; broken bones, surgeries, broken joints, chronic injury or pain, weight control, and birth defect.
​ 9. Taking time away from family-make it up later

1. Daily pushups for chest, shoulders, and triceps, misc., stomach, legs, and stretching exercises.
2. Nutritional training
3. No rest, no breaks during the one hour class rest
4. Training when you don't feel like it, only you know if you did it.
5. Always full power, concentration, maximum effort, every class, every day, every kick, punch, block, movement, your best.
6. Repetition of movements is discipline, 3,000 times to train muscles and nerves to become automatic.
7. Train as hard as possible, but don't get hurt or make injuries worse.

1. Christian Values
2. Patriotism
3. Duty to community
4. Duty to fellow martial artists
5. Your personal "honor" do what you say you will do, don't break a trust
6. Be teachable even at higher black belt level
7. Someday, be a leader

People join Tae Kwon Do for exercise and self defense. Initially, this is enough, but by brown belt level, I think they begin to see other benefits: self confidence, concentration, better health, goal setting, and stress relief. At black belt level (especially fourth and above), they should understand this about helping your fellow man, on their journey on this planet. This means not only in Tae Kwon do but with the rest of their life as well, spiritual, financial, and philosophical. We as Martial Artists need to see the bigger picture or life. It's more than just your job and family. We need to look for the truth in all activities and if see a problem, we should do our best to fix it. We are here for just a short amount of time. We need to make it mean something. We need to help the next generation be ready to take charge and run society properly when it is their appointed time. e

Maybe your name, who you are
Knowing your why is the key to sucess. It's more important than the how's.

Eighth Dan qualities as noted by Martial Arts students:
1. Leader
2. Strong Foundation
3. Commited
4. Represent tenets of Tae Kwon Do
5. Passionate
6. Quiet Confidence
7. A calling
8. Life Style
9. Humble
10. Touched Lives

  Pilsung, Certain victory-Never give up!