Tae Kwon Do

Standing left to right: Master Ellixson, Kennedy Miller, Steve Curley, Josh Hess, Angela Ogilvie. Kneeling left to right: Natlie Armbruster, Karen Seemann, Tina Korn, Mike Kocsis. Not Pictured: Sean McNamara, Benjamin Dodson

Tae Kwon Do training proving to be not just for kids as two teens and eight adults earned their Black Belts at Ellixson’s Tae Kwon Do Academy, Boyertown.

Kennedy Miller, Natalie Armbruster, Benjamin Dodson, Mike Kocsis, Josh Hess, Sean McNamara, Angela Ogilvie, Tina Korn and Karen Seemann all tested and earned their 1st Degree Black Belts while Steve Curley earned his third. An average of five years of training went into the 1st Degrees test while Curley trained four years from his 2nd to his 3rd.

Three months leading up to their test, the Black Belt Candidates trained a minimum of three two-hour classes in the dojang (academy) a week (some trained every day), running minimum two miles twice a week and then their individual studies.

“I’m a little extra proud of this group here! Most of these testers right here fulfilled all of their Black Belt training while managing families, kids and careers!” Master Ellixson, head instructor of the Academy exclaims. Ellixson goes on to say, “These Black Belt testers represent the strength of our Teen/Adult Program here at The Academy. Most schools cater to the children’s programs of their school and for that reason their adult program suffers. The key to our school is that not only do we offer separate classes for adults, we teach adults like they are adults. We don’t talk to them or teach them like they are kids. Don’t get me wrong, there is a very defined teacher/student relationship, but our instructors enjoy being close and personal with our adult students. I think that’s the key to our adult market success, we are like a family here. In my 28-plus years teaching, I can say we have a different vibe here than most martial arts schools I’ve visited and trained at across the country. In an age where most martial arts schools' enrollment are mostly youth, it’s refreshing to see adults enjoying the benefits as well.”

The 1st Degree Black Belt Testers had to complete a two-mile run, followed by as many push-ups, sit-ups, 1 legged squats and pull-ups (or pull-up hangs) as they could do. Then we started the test. To follow was one hour of basic blocks, punches and strikes in low stances, one hour of kicks and a half hour of jump kicks.

A break was given so they could complete the oral Q&A. They were responsible for knowing 35 questions on general Korean, Japanese and Chinese history, major muscles and pressure points of the body and nutrition questions.

They handed in a 1,000 word essay on their individual Tae Kwon Do journey, three Attitude of Gratitude reports, 20 documented random acts of kindness, 24 documented hours of community service and an essay on which of Tenets of Tae Kwon Do they have benefited from most. Then back to the physical part of the test.

They completed eight sets of self-defense, 11 forms, two weapon forms and one musical form, three sharp shooting skills (kicking a straw out of their partners mouth), ten rounds of sparring (a fresh person each round) and 10 board breaks. Curley did that plus Muay Thai basics, two more forms, one creative form (form he designed), concrete breaks, blindfolded board breaks and 2 on 1 sparring.

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