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Ottawa ITF schools host Mr. Mike Morningstar
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A black belt test in Taekwon-Do is a special rite of passage. Such an event took place at Blackburn Taekwon-Do on November 26th. Mr. Mike Morningstar, VI Dan, from Morningstar Taekwon-Do in Oakville, drove down to Ottawa not only to administer the test but also to give two training sessions, the first one for colour belts, the second for black belts, for students of Blackburn Taekwon-Do (Head Instructor, Mr. Steven LeGrow, V Dan) and Triggers Taekwon-Do (Head Instructor, Ms. Kathy Trigger, IV Dan).

Colour belt training took place on Saturday, November 26th, and lasted three hours. Mr. Morningstar started the training session with a vigourous warm-up followed by drills of various kinds. He then continued with fundamental exercises and Saju Jirugi, Saju Makgi, and Chon-Ji, linking the movements of each exercise and pattern with elements of the theory of power. He concluded the three hour training with stretching exercises that made their effects felt long after the training was over.

Testing took place in the afternoon and lasted from 12:30 till 4:30 pm. Three black stripes, Ms. Victoria Greenslade, Mr. Jean Sebastien Couillard and Mr. Ken Godmere of Blackburn TKD were testing for first degree black belt. Mr. Jonathan Logan, also of Blackburn TKD, was testing for II Dan while Ms. Anik Laferriere of Triggers TKD was testing for III Dan.

After a few opening remarks by Mr. Morningstar where he reminded everyone that testing ought to be considered as just another training day, that is, one should always be ready to test, the actual testing began in earnest.

All those who were testing performed all the patterns, culminating with Ms. Laferrieres last pattern, Juche, noted for its difficulty and also for its beauty. Patterns were followed by sparring, in pairs, in two on one, three on one, and even two on three. The test continued with board breaking, both on the ground and flying and jumping. Throughout the test, Mr. Morningstar tested the knowledge of all in terms of fundamental movements, patterns, Taekwon-Do history and theory.

Everyone tested rose to the challenge in the true spirit of Taekwon-Do. All were successful and were promoted by Mr. Morningstar after the test. Congratulations to all of them for a job well done. The test was inspiring to watch the room was filled with the energy and focus of those who were testing. In the evening everyone joined in celebrations at a local restaurant. Unbeknownst to those who had tested, a final task remained. Each of them was asked to make a short speech on their journey to black belt and on the significance of their achievement.

On the following day, Mr. Morningstar gave a training session for black belts of Blackburn TKD and Triggers TKD. The training session focused especially on fundamental movements and techniques. Master Choi is always fond of saying that: if you know one thing through and through, then you know everything. It was in this spirit that Mr. Morningstar concentrated on some fundamental aspects of Taekwon-Do, including spot turning, punching, blocking, so as to ensure that basic techniques were correct and clean. As usual, the training was physically demanding but was made worthwhile by the detailed and precise instruction given by Mr. Morningstar. It was very motivating to see everyone concentrating and working with dedication at improving their skills and knowledge. Mr. Morningstar concluded the training by reminding everyone of the upcoming Traditional Taekwon-Do Association training in Oakville in January 2006, an event not to be missed.

Special thanks are in order to Mr. Morningstar for the training sessions and to Mr. LeGrow and Ms. Trigger for supporting the event. On a personal note, it was very gratifying for me to see my daughter, Ms. Anik Laferriere, test successfully for her III Dan. Congratulations again to all.

Claude Laferriere, III Dan.

Written by: Claude Laferriere - 1st December 2005

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