USTF Workshop with Grand Master Sereff

On August 18, 2012, Burning Phoenix TKD was delighted to have Grand Master Renee Sereff visit Utah for a 3-hour USTF Workshop.

The morning before the workshop, Grand Master Sereff met with the Utah TKD women for a special ladies-only breakfast. Th breakfast was held at Market Street Grill in downtown Salt Lake City, and attended by about 20 women, mostly from BPTKD with some from Dubbeld TKD. We enjoyed hearing stories from the Grand Master, including some comments on the mysteries of the stepping for the turning-kick back-kick in Choong-Moo.

The workshop began around 1pm, where the first trick was lining up. Once she had us positioned where we could move without trampling our neighbors, we began with kicks. She went over some fun combinations, such as front-kick > flying-front-kick, and some practical exercises, such as the jumping practice for kicks.

After some time of fun kicking and stories, we lined up in columns by rank for patterns, and under the Grand Master’s watchful eye went through by her count, and by our own count. To note: Circular Block.

That session was followed by step-sparring, which was great fun. In addition to some conventional step-sparring practice (and a bit of semi-free), she showed us 2-way-3-step, which practices not only going backward as you block, but going forward! Being a new form, it was a bit confusing at first, but I think we got it in the end and it’s a fun thing to be aware how to do.

We were honored to have such an amazing person travel here to impart some of her great wisdom.

Grand Master Sereff at Workshop in Utah

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Burning Phoenix Camp 2012

20 Burning Phoenix students met for a weekend of camping July 13-15. The plans for this second Burning Phoenix Camp (the first taking place in 2011) included 3 hikes, campfires, and lots of food. The camp was headed by Mr. Gemmell, with general organization and management by Mr. Ray and Miss Bunch.

The campers met Friday for a tribal dance and hamburger party at a picnic site near the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon, where we were mostly rain-free although we didn’t avoid the soot (well, that was self-applied). We were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Fermont and Mrs. Gemmell, who would not be camping but came to enjoy the meal with us.

Following dinner, the campers drove all the way to the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon to our beautiful and lucky-recently-gained campsite at Albion, near the trailhead for Cecret Lake*. There are so many wildflowers and chipmunks, and the view was fabulous. We were even lucky enough to see a couple of bull moose on our second day.

After unloading and setting up tents in the dark, we slept to the sound of rain and howling birds, and awoke to a fresh new morning. The campfire was welcome and warm as we breakfasted through several courses, then we packed up and set off in the bus for our first hike.

Burning Phoenix was a bit soggy during this Stewart Falls hike. The rain did not cease on the muddy trail to the falls, and once it let up, we voluntarily threw ourselves under the falls for awesome-picture-time. Everyone was soaked and freezing (except perhaps those who wisely abstained from the plunge), but the falls were beautiful, it was a fun experience.

The hike down had significantly fewer mud puddles, and out of the rain the photographers took each opportunity to catch images of mountain peaks, butterflies, and the beautiful flora.

The day ended with a cheesy nacho dinner and delicious baked desserts around a nice warm campfire.

“[W]e had a fun evening eating, roasting marshmallows, and hanging out. Mr. Gemmell led us on a night hike to Cecret Lake, which is really just a pond with ambition.” (Ms. Bunch)

So, the night didn’t quite end there. Once some had gone to bed, and night had really fallen, Mr. Gemmell suggested a night jog up to Cecret Lake. It had been on the itinerary but not likely to happen, so those more adventurous (or foolish?) followed him up the 1,000 vertical feet to the lake. There we sat at 10,500 ft. enjoying light bracelets (courtesy of Mr. Gemmell) and long-exposure photography (courtesy of Mr. Chavez).

Day 2 was pack-up and a wonderful hike to and through Timpanogos Caves, joined by Mr. Grey & party. We were lucky with the weather again, as it rained little, and only on the way down. The way up was steep but full of great sights, and the tour of the caves were generally enjoyed. I could have spent couple of hours staring at the formations, and when I asked Miss Athena Gemmell which her favorite cave was, she replied “I liked them all a lot!”

“The hike to the caves the last day was fun, but brutal. And you REALLY didn’t want to look off to the side while hiking, unless heights don’t bother you.” (Ms. Bunch)

We took our last meal at a park not too far down the canyon, which we were fortunate enough to find unoccupied and with covered benches.

A last ride in the bus took us to our destinations, and thus ended the Burning Phoenix Camp 2012.

Please find pictures [here once they are posted].

Camper Remarks

Melanie Bunch: I enjoyed how well we were able to adapt to the fluid situation. Friday was pretty “touch-and-go” with the sudden lack of campsites, but we adapted and overcame. Those of us sitting around and the day use area amused ourselves with chatting, painting ourselves with soot from the fire, and of course the now famous “Ring of Fire” pattern that I’m still the only one who can remember the whole thing.


*Cecret Lake, according to this source, may come from a misspelling of ‘Secret’ after the ‘Secret Mining and Milling Company’, and is one of many names for the lake.

Stewart Falls

Posted in Guess What We Did!, Travel | Leave a comment

Sereff World Camp 2012

Very late at night on June 23rd (or is that very early the morning of the 24th?), the Burning Phoenix bus departed Salt Lake City for Estes Park, Colorado, to attend the Sereff World Camp. The 17 passengers had a merry ride, with special thanks to Mrs. Gemmell, who led the expedition, and Mr. Ashwood, who drove the bus.

Estes Park is in the mountains of Colorado at roughly 7500 feet, and inhabited by multitudes of birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, and ground squirrels. Our mornings began with a short outdoor warmup where we were able to observe the sun rise over a nearby peak — it was a beautiful location, though hot and crowded.

Opening ceremonies were held Sunday evening, where we played a couple of group games and were divided into teams. The teams would be competing for points and each others’ mascots. Team 1: The Bear. Team 2: The Elk. Team 3: The Ram.

There were Taekwon-do students from Wyoming, Colorado, Australia, Michigan, Utah, Alaska, and other parts of the USA; one man from Puerto Rico; and one brave non-USTF member from Missouri — roughly 80-100 people in all.

Most of these were black belts, meaning that — Mrs. Gemmell aside — Burning Phoenix students had to be on their best etiquette.
“World Camp, and out-of-state events in general, are always a great place to learn/practice the full formal etiquette of Taekwon-Do. People traveling for the first time learn about things like etiquette at meals, and standing for the highest ranks…. Even students who are familiar with some of these basic rules can brush up on the subtle details, like ‘What rank should I stand for? Do I wait for the highest rank in the room to eat, or just the highest at my table?’” (Ms. Bunch)

General camp activities would include the earning of Ducks or Cupcakes (for performing Good service or being Bad), and a ‘murder’ game (brought to you by the Australians), where a few winking murderers caused amusing and dramatic deaths.

“The murders were one of my personal favorite things about camp, I loved how everyone was plotting their death!” (Ari Schjelderup)


The first day of training began with a 3-hour session with Sr Grand Master Sereff. It was an honor to be instructed by him, and the class continued efficiently with high energy. He took us through kicks and patterns, switching between the two. It made us think, and broke up the usual repetitiousness of patterns.

The second training session was led by Sr Master Steadman and Master Bosse. We split into 2 groups, one to work on sparring drills, the other to work on kicking and speed exercises.

I believe it was this day that started the Good, Bad (Just Sayin’) chant and subsequent t-shirt trend.

“When we first got to camp I was sort of scared because everyone looked like normal people (the first day), but I knew that they weren’t! It was all intimidating when everyone was lined up the next morning. But as Myra said ‘It’s good to remember that even though we take Taekwon-do seriously we have to be light and playful some of the time.’ Everyone’s attitude really helped, and it was not as frightening.” (Ari Schjelderup)


Session 1: Team Captain Teaching

We split into our teams, then the 3 team captains of the 3 teams led us through 3 different hour-long sessions in the morning. Team 1 had us set up patterns with application (1 person plays out the pattern, striking and blocking against real opponents), team 2 did team patterns and sparring exercises, team 3 chose to do step-sparring (including a brief introduction to the Australian versions).

Session 2: Junior Teaching

3 junior black-belts taught these sections. Ms. Ashleigh Ray took us through patterns-in-a-box and progressive patterns, Ms. Fitch took us back to the useful basics of Ho-Sin-Sul, and the 3rd session was sparring exercises (like belt grab).

The entertainment for the night was 2-fold. First we had storytelling by Master Birch from Australia. We learned how the Kiwi bird lost its wings (sacrifice & courage), why the year has longer and shorter days (with a music/dance number), and he told us how he began Taekwon-do (how TKD started in Australia).

“I loved [World Camp and] Master Birtch’s stories, especially how the three islands of New Zealand came to be.” (Ms. Tabert)

Following this great session, Ms. Armstrong performed violin for us — Irish jigs, Lord of the Rings, and You Are My Sunshine.


Today was a day of wonders. Our morning session consisted of 3 hour-long sessions with 3 of the 4 Grand Masters of the USTF. This time we separated by rank to get the most out of our training sessions.

Grand Master Renee Sereff went through some patterns and kicks with the color belts, and covered kicks and stories with the black belts.

Grand Master Winegar, Director of Technique, corrected stances and several techniques, and instructed us color belts to use our techniques in our patterns; with the black belts, he went through kicks, then focused on a I-Dan pattern move-by-move. He also talked about loyalty, and being in TKD as an artist versus an athlete.

Grand Master De Baca, in his quietly impressive manner, had us practice a mix of step-sparring and ho-sin-sul, where we picked techniques from various patterns and he showed us creative applications.

“My favorite part of camp was getting to sit at the feet of the Grandmasters and learn that the road through tkd is not always easy but through perserverance and having an indomitable spirit it is always possible to keep moving forward. When you are through moving forward you help others to see that potential in themselves so that they can learn and grow too.” (Mrs. Ashwood)

“I loved training with all of the Grand Masters and hearing their stories they mixed in with the lessons.” (Ari Schjelderup)

“Finally being taught by [the Grand Masters] and hearing them speak, I am able to see how they’ve made this organization grow, and how they can inspire the same enthusiasm they show in their students and their students’ students.” (Myra Schjelderup)

After this wonderful intensive training (we could have gone on for hours with those amazing instructors!), the afternoon was free time, some relaxed, some went and walked around town.

The night’s entertainment was Siamese Sparring, where 2 souls were bound by belt and leg with white belts and sent into the ring to fight to the death… or, well, just fight, if they could. Unlike tournament or even class sparring, this was light-hearted, full of laughs and very few injuries.


We started with a hike to a waterfall/rapids, for some really excellent pictures, then for the afternoon session we experienced International Day.

Mr. Bradley of Australia took us through sparring exercise requirements they use in Australia, which were a good deal of fun.

Master Birch of Australia showed us some excellent knife-defense ho-sin-sul. (He makes them all look so easy!)

Mr. Castillo from Puerto Rico covered the speeds of movements in Taekwon-do (regular, slow motion, fast motion, consecutive, continuous, and an extra one he called natural). We practiced in-stance, and moving through Sitting and Walking stance, with punches and kicking.

The event for the night was, sadly, Closing Ceremonies. Awards were given, certificates and gifts presented, and everyone said goodbye.

Winner of the Winking Murders most creative death: Ms. Moormeier.
Winning team: Team 1. Go Bears!

“The thing that I’ll remember from camp [is] Grandmaster Sereff thanking me for helping Ani up to the line to get her certificate.” (Ms. Tabert)

“[I] enjoyed travelling into town on the last night with a bunch of the high ranks and other adults. We went to a pub and enjoyed a relaxed evening of talking and playing pool. Well, most of us didn’t play pool, Master Birch, a couple of his students, and one or two of our own Masters were playing pool – I didn’t dare ask if I could play, and there was just the one table.” (Ms. Bunch)


More goodbyes and some disaster cleanup preceded our departure, then we were on our way back to Utah. This awesome trip has come to an end.

Student Remarks

Sadie Ashwood: I liked all the stories people told. The Australians and the Grand Masters had great ones. …All the new people we met will now know how awesome Burning Phoenix is!

Natasha Tabert: [I loved] getting to meet new people, how different countries did things….The bus ride was fun… switching the head phones between five of us getting our headsets tangled while we were switching songs on our iPods and phone.

Stacey Ashwood: General Choi and Sr. Grandmaster Sereff truly had a vision in mind when they started putting this organization together. With the way the world is today, it was reassurring to see that values like courtesy, integtity, and family are still important and trying to be shared.

Ari Schjelderup: I loved meeting new people in TKD, making new friends, and also becoming better friends with people in our own school.

Melanie Bunch: [It's] interesting to see how different other schools are, both from other countries and even from other states. I was one of the few people without any embroidery on my I Dan belt, because apparently not all schools practice the “Cho Dan” probationary period of First Degree Black Belt. The Australians had slightly different step sparring. Master Birch also warned that in his school, anyone who yawned at him would get 200 push ups.
So it’s fun to recognize the differences even in our closely-knit group, and maybe see things you’d like to adopt, or be happy that YOUR school doesn’t do that.

Myra Schjelderup: I will always remember how inspired I felt at World Camp — by the number and enthusiasm of the campers, and the amazing presence and knowledge of the Grand Masters.

The End

Burning Phoenix TKD with Grand Masters Sereff

Posted in Guess What We Did!, Travel | Leave a comment

Black Belt Testing June 2012

The day was a Saturday, June 2nd, in the year 2012 (a good day for the occasion).

The event was a Black Belt testing, where 4 Burning Phoenix TKD students were evaluated on skill, perseverance, self-control, and teleportability. (< Not a real word.)

In no particular order, these candidates were:
Melanie Bunch
Miguel Barahona
Steven Bratt
Viviana Vega

Partners for sparring: Mr. Chavez, Mr. Soto
Partners for ho-sin-sul: Mr. Thomas, Mr. Almstrom, Mr. Jones, Ms. DeVoe

At the testing board we had Mrs. Gemmell, Mr. Gemmell, and Mr. Gray. Calling techniques was Ms. Tabert.

The testing began with an opening ceremony and the Pledge of Allegiance, and progressed thus:
Combination kicks
Flying kicks
Step-sparring (advanced 1-step)
Step-sparring (advanced semi-free)
No-contact free-sparring
Ho-Sin-Sul routines

“It was very stressful during, and very relieving afterwards,” said Mr. Miguel Barahona.


“I was obviously very nervous leading up to my black belt testing,” said Miss Melanie Bunch. “I kind of overdid it on the training in the days before the testing, and my left leg was planning a mutiny the whole time. But the testing itself wasn’t as big an ordeal as I’d thought it would be, and actually I found that it went by pretty quickly. We were done with patterns and kicks before I knew it, and I was eagerly anticipating the step-sparring and ho sin sul, which I had prepared routines for.”

From where I watched at the camera, the no-contact free-sparring went smoothly and — as expected — quietly. (There was an appropriate lack of smacks and cries.)

“Watching the video of my ho sin sul routine,” said Miss Bunch, who was partnered up with the much taller Mr. Thomas, “it seems like it looked more vicious from my own vantage point than to the onlookers. It didn’t go perfectly, but I think the result was still a pretty good routine.”

The Ho-Sin-Sul routines were awesome. You’ll have to watch the videos. [Link coming...]

Breaking for these candidates involved a tile break for the hands (all performed flawlessly), and a twin-foot break that the candidates had been practicing up to the day before the testing.

“I would have liked to have made all 3 of my breaks on the first try,” said Miss Bunch, “but I’m still happy to have gotten them all done right at the testing, and not had to make them up later.”

View pictures of the event…. [link coming...]

Memorable Moments

It happened at one point that a Mister Bunch and Miss Bratt were called forward. Hilarity ensued for the next few moments – a good relaxer for the candidates.

Inevitably, the performance was awesome, and the crowd cheered hard as the candidates received their well-earned belts.

Miss Bunch has these inspirational words for all of us working toward Black Belt: “[If] I can do it, you can do it too! Stick with your training, don’t get too nervous about the testing, and someday soon you’ll be where I am now!”

After the testing, the school gathered for dinner, taking up an entire wing at the Red Robin.

“As always, I loved going out to eat with everyone afterwards,” said Miss Bunch, “and I enjoyed meeting Mr. Bratt’s parents and chatting with them during dinner. It’s always fun being able to just relax and have fun with our TKD group and their families.”

The camaraderie of the dinner topped off an exciting and victorious day.

We, the Burning Phoenix school of Taekwon-do, are so very proud of our new Black Belts.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Burning Phoenix Color-Belt Promotions

Burning Phoenix Color-Belt Promotions March 22

After months of learning, and weeks of strict evaluation, 32 Burning Phoenix students lined up for the first promotion ceremony of the year.

The crowd was excited, but patient, as we applauded our comrades, as each student ran to Front and Center, proudly accepted their new belts, and donning their new colors.

The Burning Phoenix School of Taekwon-Do promoted this day:

2 to High Red Belt
4 to Red Belt
3 to High Blue Belt
6 to Blue Belt
4 to Green Belt
4 to High Yellow Belt
2 to Yellow Belt
7 to High White Belt

Following the organized ceremony, we enjoyed cake and punch to celebrate our victory!

It was weird not wearing our belts to the promotion… [J]ust like every promotion everyone looks so [weird] with new belts cause I’m used to seeing everyone with their old belts … and I’ve decided that red belts are Pomestrawspberries.
- Luis Chavez -

I liked the promotions because after I got my belt back after not wearing one for a while it felt like I was wearing a new belt. I agree with Ms. Bunch “It feels like there’s a bit more ceremony to it when it’s handed to you”.
- Ari Schjelderup -

It felt like we had earned it and that getting the belt and putting it on this time (as we hadn’t been wearing one) made it seem more personal and less like “we’re trying to update everyone’s old belts”.
I also loved the short and sweetness of the promotion.
I was quite thrilled to be able to get my blue belt before I leave, and it was cool seeing practically everyone else advance with me :)
- Alex Angelos -

How quickly promotions went was great… more fun and more enjoyable to see people promoted when we don’t have to stand there for so long. I liked lining up without belts it was interesting, and made it faster for promotion since all we had to do was put a new belt on whether it’s stripes or not.
- Ani Schjelderup -


Burning Phoenix Color-Belt Promotions April 14

Students gathered at the Salt Lake Community College for promotions, supporting 16 students who had earned their advance to the next rank.

Mr. Gemmell had the following to say:
“I am so proud of all these students, who have worked so hard, and given their all to meet the standards that we are trying to set for our school. Each and every one of our students has made us a better school!”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Burning Phoenix TKD Challenge March 2012

The Burning Phoenix school of Taekwon-Do, with more than 40 active students, can turn any situation into something awesome and fun. This is partly because, frankly, we’re all awesome, and partly because we do awesome and fun things.

The 2nd BPTKD Challenge, starting what is sure to be a long tradition of annual March tournaments, was held on March 17th at the Northwest Multi-Purpose Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. There were 9 events and more than 30 students competing for dozens of medals and one overall Tournament Master Grand Champion winged-figurine-crested trophy.

At 9 o’clock on that windy St. Patrick’s Day Saturday morning, the tournament commenced with a formal bow-in and rules presentation led by sa-bum Heather Gemmell and sa-bum Eric Gemmell, and a chorus of the Star-Spangled Banner led by students Myra Schjelderup and Alex Angelos.

“I still don’t know why I [volunteered to sing]… but I think it turned out well. I didn’t hear anyone complaining.”
- Alex Angelos -

The first event of the day was Patterns, followed by Sparring and Power Breaking, as you would expect from a Taekwon-Do tournament. To make it that much more exciting, there were a few extra, special events.

Speciality Breaking: Flying High Kick, Flying Turning Kick, and Flying Overhead Kick.

“For specialty breaking, I was not going to let myself miss the flying high kick. In our November BPTKD challenge Mr. Firmont (one of the board holders for the same event) told me my foot had gone above the board, but I hadn’t touched. I went in with the attitude that I was just going to try and touch all my specialty breaks and not even try and break them.
I’d say that strategy paid off — all my gold medals were for specialty breaking.”
- Alex Angelos -

Freestyle Breaking: Competitor chooses targets and techniques to hit all boards in the air. Spectacular.

The last event of the tournament was Team Breaking. 5 teams, one last chance to earn medals (and points) for Grand Champion.

“Mr. Gemmell advised that I was in the top 3 people most likely to get the Grand Champion Trophy, and so I really wanted to medal in team breaking — but it was more fun in team breaking when Mr. Jones had said that he was hoping to get the Trophy and I said I had at least 12 points with 4 gold medals. The look on his face was great because it was severely bummed out mixed with ‘that’s awesome ma’am’. ”
- Alex Angelos

Congratulations to Grand Champion… *drum roll* Alex Angelos!
“I really wanted to try and get the Grand Champion Trophy. I can get pretty competitive, and I was a little bummed when Ms. Vega won the last one…. So I wanted to do better. … I was just so stoked to win that trophy — that was my goal and I’m glad I felt like I earned it (: “

“She’s very deserving of it, and what a nice way to say ‘bye for now’ as she gets ready to leave on her mission!” says High-Red-Belt Melanie Bunch.

Despite having 9 events — more, surely, than any of us had done before in any one tournament — the Challenge finished in under 7 hours.

About 20 tournament-goers (and family) met later to dine, relax, and discuss the tournament….

“It was awesomely awesome,” says then-High-Blue-Belt Luis Chavez. “It went by so fast,” he reflects, “when we got to breaking I thought it was like 3 [o’clock] but it was like 12….”

I’m looking forward to future tournaments of this magnitude of awesomeness.

Special thanks to instructors Heather and Eric Gemmell, assisting Black-Belts Natasha Tabert and Benjamin Jones, score-keeper and announcer Kevin Ray, and to the High-Red Belts (Melanie Bunch, Stephen Bratt, Viviana Vega, and Miguel Barahona) who, though unable to participate in most events, were there to support and help out.

To quote our Grand Champion again, “I think that about covers the tournament. I would call it awesomely epic.” “:)”


The Students Say….

“I wasn’t as involved with the tournament this time as I usually am,” Miss Melanie Bunch reflects. “But everyone seemed to be having a great time!” The resident photographer of Burning Phoenix events, Miss Bunch was a fan of the podium where medalists stood for victory shots. Along with the Grand Champion award, her highlights included watching the reaction of Ms. Hawks — “[S]he was understandably quite excited” — as she broke 3 boards, placing 1st in her division for Power Hand.
“And I had a GREAT time at the dinner afterwards! Great food, good company, fun conversation……..what an awesome topper to the day!”

“I was super glad to hep out… [and] I got to use the little throw phoenix I made — which was awesome,” says our Grand Champion. “I also liked how Mr. Gemmell went to get everyone who wasn’t wearing green at the end of the tournament — but everyone in uniform was.”

“Tournament was awesomely fun. … [E]ven though I didn’t get medals for 2/3 of the specialty breaking I was really happy with how I did on all three of them, though especially flying turning! [I]n terms of sparring it was the first tournament that I felt like I had a chance at winning a match….. Probably the most fun tournament I’ve been to so far! :)
- Ani Schjelderup -

“I enjoyed taking care of everyone as the medic, and making sure that everyone was fine when it was all over,” says then-High-Green-Belt Gennese (and that’s juh-nee-s) Hawks. She at first had reservations about that 3-board break. “I have never broken more than 2, so this really made me excited, because I put my mind to something and I accomplished it.”

“I think one of my favorite parts about this tournament was that I was never saddened when someone did better than I — it was excitement that WE were out there performing well, and that there was an awesome competitive spirit.”
- Alex Angelos -

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rank Advancement and Holiday Party

I know that Christmas is past, New Year’s resolutions have been set, and most of them have been broken by now. But from what I was told the Rank Advancement and Holiday Party was outstanding.

Mr. Chavez said “I don’t really know what to say about my rank promotion except that I’m no longer a ‘blueberry’, so I’m still trying to figure out what fruit I am! The holiday party was also fun, I’ve never been bowling before, unless you count bowling on the Wii. But just everyone being there and having fun was great.”

Ms. Bunch said “The December promotions were awesome – 3 Black Belts got their 1st Dan belts, with their names embroidered. And 3 more got their Cho-Dan belts (they get the official belts in another 6 months). One of them is only 9, very likely the youngest Cho-Dan ever promoted in Utah!

This was the first promotion where I wasn’t promoted – I’m still in training for my own Cho-Dan belt. But around 35 others were promoted, and the atmosphere was very happy and festive.”

Congratulations to all those who was advanced in rank, thanks for all the hard work that you put into Taekwon-Do. And to everyone else, keep working hard, and enjoy what you are doing.

For the Holiday Party, everyone got on the Burning Phoenix Bus and went to the bowling lanes. Mr. Balta was promoted on the bus, and from what it sounds like everyone had a great time. Thanks to everyone for making 2011 such a great year!

Ms. Bunch said “I’d love to do another bowling trip with our school, or even just go down there to play pool and video games. I’m hoping next time we can stick around for longer, and maybe get a few more games in!”

Let’s give it up for Burning Phoenix TKD!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Burning Phoenix Competition

I know this is a little late but here it goes.

The BPTKD tournament was very exciting for many of us Burning Phoenix students. It was something new and different. Now we don’t just have sparing, patterns, and breaking, but specialty breaking and team breaking as well!

We had visitors from Nevada that supported our tournament, too. Master Gary Bosse, from Las Vegas brought several of his students as well as his family to come join us, and later we all enjoyed dinner together at Artic Circle (Master’s choice). It was a wonderful opportunity to promote comraderie in Taekwon-Do.

Ms. Bunch said “One of the things I liked best about it was all of the breaking that we did. In past tournaments where there were breaking events, you do one hand break and one foot break, and your scores combine into one for one medal. In the Burning Phoenix Challenge, we did hand breaks as one event, then foot breaks as another event, and then specialty breaking, if you were an adult above Green Belt. And finally – TEAM breaking! We’d been told before about chances for team breaking at other tournaments, but they never panned out. So this was our first time actually getting to try it.”

Mr. Chavez said “The competition was fun, I liked how everything seemed to just roll, I also enjoyed being a corner person, during the competition.”

The competition was a lot of fun for nearly everyone. Most people came home with at least one medal. It was one of the best competitions that I‘ve seen in a while.

At the end of the competition there was a Grand Champion chosen. It was a tie, but ultimately a 12 year-old Red Belt, Ms. V. Vega took it home, making her parents very proud!

Mr. Gemmell adds, “I watched as Ms. Vega showed the Grand Champion Trophy to her grandparents when they came to pick her up and take her home. The look on their faces said everything. I can’t remember being prouder, not because she had a trophy, but because I know how hard she has worked to be able to earn it.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USTF Ho Sin Sul Seminar

Sorry that it took so long to get this article up. This article was a hard one to write, mainly because I didn’t know what to say that you all hadn’t already experienced, but I hope you enjoy it.

August 20, 2011 the Burning Phoenix School hosted a USTF Ho Sin Sul seminar, taught by Master Frank Hannon, VII Dan. He taught everything from falling correctly to releases from chokes. Here are what some of the others have said.

Ani Schjelderup “It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot. I liked how the setup of the mats allowed almost everyone to practice at the same time, and Master Hannon was always in the center so easy for everyone to see. The demonstrations were easy to see, and fairly easy to understand for the most part. I liked how everything at the start was prepped for stuff later, and yet was useful just by itself as well. Everyone seemed to be having a great time, and the environment overall was just nice.”

Melanie Bunch “Okay, so a quick message to talk about the seminar… It was very cool, and I learned a lot! It was the longest TKD class I’d been to, and I was definitely dragging towards the end.

Some of the techniques taught were actually a refresher for me, as some of the Judo throws and a few other things had been taught at the mixed martial arts school I went to years ago. So I actually felt pretty confident on those things. But there was plenty of new stuff too, and definite moments of “You want me to do WHAT??”.

I liked taking pictures, and I’m happy that I got as many as I did (over 300 – it will be a while before they’re edited). Taking pictures also gave me a great excuse to take breaks from the techniques and walk around to see how all of our other students were doing. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.”

Mindy Pike “I am constantly in amazement at how rich our family is with love, knowledge and eagerness to share what we have.

I went to the Ho Sin Sul seminar with a great amount of trepidation, given that I’m undergoing cancer treatments for bone cancer and my other health problems including seizures, however with the encouragement given I was brave enough to show up. Despite my trepidation and indeed having to sit out for portions of the seminar, I feel like I learned a great deal, and grew closer to my family in the meantime.

I struggled with a number of things, but each time Master Hannon made clarification to make it work.

I paid dearly with soreness for days after the seminar, as I know we all did, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Master Hannon took a moment after the seminar and after signing my belt to give me a few words of praise and encouragement that were entirely unexpected but very much uplifting and enough on their own to make the following days of pain worth it.

I look forward to all the future stuff we’ve got going on and to seeing Master Hannon again next year for our knife defense seminar.”

The class was really amazing! It was serious and fun at the same time.
We would like to say thank you to Master Hannon for everything.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wyoming Invitational Tournament

Flyer and Registration Form can be seen here:

It has been partially filled out for BPTKD students: the insurance listed is for students that do not carry or have their own health insurance. REMEMBER, the BPTKD Sport Health Insurance Policy covers all BPTKD students participating at any BPTKD-approved events!

We will be organizing a group to go, and although I am still working out the travel details and costs, etcetera, I would like to jump on this ASAP. We’ve had a lot going on lately (whew!), but I know we can get a pretty good group to go, and if we send in the forms soon we may still be able to get the $5/person early registration discount! Hey, every $1 counts, right?

So please let me know if you are interested in going, and I’ll have the total cost amount worked out shortly. :-)


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment