2016 Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation Southwest Regional Championships and Dan Shim Sa
The Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation’s Southwest Region held its 4th annual Dan Shim Sa (black belt test) and Championship Tournament 23-25 September in Lubbock, TX. Kwan Jang Nim John St. James and Kuktche Sabom Nim Debbie Jett traveled from Atlanta, Georgia to oversee the event. Additionally, Sunim Sabom Nim Mark Farquharson traveled from Aurora, Colorado and Sabom Nim Peter Estrada from Abilene, Texas to help, as well. Regional school owners, and their students, from Thunderbird Martial Arts, Albuquerque, NM; Colorado Tang Soo Do, Aurora, CO; Abilene Karate Academy, Abilene, TX; and DFW Tang Soo Do, Ft. Worth, TX made the trip to participate.
Friday evening, 39 students participated in the Dan Shim Sa as testers and reviews (mid-term testers). All of the regional schools were represented on the floor. An unseasonably warm West Texas day created a very warm and humid environment; however, the test participants were up to the challenge and showed tremendous courage, perseverance, and Moo Do spirit under very difficult conditions. The physical test consisted of basic and advanced techniques (blocking, kicking, punching); combinations of various kicks, blocks, and punches; basic, intermediate, and advanced forms; weapons forms, self-defense; rolling and falling; sparring; and breaking. Mr. Rick Crouse and Mr. Paul Lopez (both from Thunderbird Martial Arts) were announced as highest scores on the written test for adults. Mr. Rick Crouse was adult best in test and Alex Trevino (West Texas Karate) was children’s best in test.
Saturday, more than 130 participants competed in open hand forms, weapons forms, sparring and breaking. Black belts kicked off the championships with inspired and tenacious effort. While the black belts were competing gups (color belts) were checking in, warming up for their events, and watching the black belt competition. Once black belt competition completed, Kwan Jang Nim St. James convened the opening ceremonies. All students lined up by belt rank, stood at attention for the playing of the national anthem, and bowed their heads for Kyo Sa Joel Basinger’s invocation. Kwan Jang Nim St. James addressed the competitors and told them if they Carpe Diem (seize the day), then they can Carpe Momentum (seize the moment). He also emphasized staying under control, giving all-out effort, and most importantly, having fun!! Next, Kwan Jang Nim St. James announced the winners of the black belt competition: Kyo Sa Michelle Lopez (Thunderbird Martial Arts) was the women’s Cho Dan Grand Champion, Meghan Farquharson (Colorado Tang Soo Do) was the women’s E Dan/Sam Dan Grand Champion, Luke Basinger (West Texas Karate) was the men’s Cho Dan champion, and Kyo Sa Gil Danforth (West Texas Karate) was the men’s E Dan/Sam Dan champion.
Kyo Sa Paul Lopez discussed the championship commemorative coins and thanked Bu Sabom Alicia Galvan for coming up with the design for the coins. Proceeds from these sales help the Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Foundation non-profit organization provide at-risk youth karate programs they would not otherwise be able to afford. These coins have become a very popular item at the various regional events; in fact all of the coins were pre-ordered and thus sold out before the regional tournament even started! For donations to the Foundation, please visit http://www.aptsdfoundation.org/index.html.
At the conclusion of the opening ceremony, the Abilene Karate Academy Demonstration Team performed their demo, followed by the West Texas Karate Demonstration Team. Both demo teams exhibited a high degree of precision and control as they wowed Kwan Jang Nim St. James, the Masters, their fellow students, and their family and friends.
The championship floor consisted of five competition rings. Competitors from age 3 on up competed in the various age divisions as family and friends watched and encouraged all competitors. When students were not competing, they found time for a drink of water or a quick snack, cheer on their fellow students, or hold boards. All in attendance were enthusiastic throughout the day as applause was continuous and loud Ki-Hap’s were plentiful! Competitors also had time to catch up with friends from previous Federation events or make new friends. All competitors gave their all and ended the tournament proud of their efforts, regardless of whether they medaled or not.
Saturday night, school owners were invited to Cagle’s Steakhouse for supper and school owner’s meeting with Kwan Jang Nim St. James. The school owners enjoyed their meals and fellowship. The discussion centered on the weekend’s events, as well as upcoming events for the rest of the year and upcoming years. While the school owner’s had their meeting, students relaxed and enjoyed fellowship with their fellow competitors at various local restaurants and at the Championship Hotel pool.
Sunday morning, black belts (and Cho Dan Bo’s who had tested for their black belt) were invited to a work out with Sunim Sabom Nim Farquharson and Sabom Nim Estrada. Sabom Nim Estrada worked with attendees on various self-defense techniques. Sunim Sabom Nim Farquharson worked with select attendees on advanced open hand and weapons forms. All attendees agreed that these sessions were tremendously valuable and thanked the Masters for their time and efforts.
The weekend, as a whole, was a tremendous success. The Southwest Region is certainly on the right track with each of its students learning martial arts and its schools growing. Upcoming events include the annual Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Tour, as well as the ever popular Southwest Regional Leadership Camp. Many thanks to all who made this year’s Southwest Regional Tournament a huge success. Tang Soo!!
by Jo Kyo Joe Aldrich