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.

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