On the weekend of October 23-25, the southeastern region of the Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation had its fall cycle Dan Shim Sa (Black Belt test) and review, as well as its annual championships in Trussville, Alabama.
Over 100 Black Belts and Cho Dan Bo (Black Belt Candidates) tested or reviewed at the Trussville Athletics Center on Friday night October 23rd. Two hundred (200) plus competitors gathered the next day, October 24th at the same facility for the regional championships.
Birmingham Academy of Martial Arts, owned by Master Heather Potter and Mr. Will Potter, hosted the very successful event. The black belt test opened with the announcement of the high scores on the written test. Sarah Parrish scored highest among the children, and among the adults, Scott Parrish, Jackie Parrish, and Michelle Hensley all of Karate World in Suwanee, Georgia tied with a perfect score.
The Black Belt test was quite challenging, which I participated in this cycle. Of particular note was Sister Kathleen Navarra of Coker’s Tang Soo Do, who tested for her Sam Dan at the age of 62. Best test was awarded to Lydia Potter of Birmingham Academy of Martial Arts for the children and Sun Leverett of Two Dragons Martial Arts for the adults.
The tournament took place the following morning and started at 8 am sharp with a judges meeting. Black belt competition which started at 9 am was completed before many of the color belt competitors arrived so that everyone could witness the awarding of the championship cups. The women’s cup went to Rachel Lynn-Chisum of Karate World, and the men’s cup was awarded to Will Potter of Birmingham Academy of Martial Arts.
Following this were black belt presentations for all candidates who had successfully completed their six (6) month probationary period. It was a very special occasion, for three (3) Master’s belts were presented. Luis Parra-Flores, owner of Tennessee Tang Soo Do Studio, was promoted to Master Instructor, Master Deborah Jett, co-owner of Karate World, was presented with her Oh Dan (5th degree), and Senior Master Carole Coker, owner of Coker’s Tang Soo Do, was presented with her Yuk Dan (6th degree). This last presentation was especially momentous as Master Coker is the first women to reach sixth degree Black Belt in our Federation. Afterwards, several Masters and their students presented awe inspiring demonstrations which included everything from weapons forms and self defense to kicking apples off of live blades. Then, competition opened.
The tournament lasted into the afternoon, and was a great success. All of the students performed admirably. The weekend finished with a studio owners and instructor’s workout Sunday morning at 9 am sharp with Kwan Jang Nim St. James. Afterwards, Kwan Jang Nim taught a Master’s only workout which lasted past noon. Overall, it was an excellent weekend of Tang Soo Do.
Submitted by by Ms. Shanon Jett - Sam Dan