(l to r) Instructor Robert Augenlicht, 4th degree black belt, Masters Paul Irvin, 8th degree of Oregon and Master Jim Langlas, 8th degree of Florida and Master Bruce Helman, 7th degree, judge the Black Belt test at the Universal Taekwon Do Federation National Event, held on December 15 at JCFS.
By Collins Yearwood
JCFS’ Family Commons inclusive recreation program hosted its first-ever Universal Tae Kwon Do Federation (UTF) National Event held at the Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center on Dec. 15. Students from seven states attended the event, which included classes for all levels, seminars, the Black Belt test and an awards luncheon.
Masters Paul Irvin and Jim Langlas, both eighth degree black belts and co-Presidents of UTF, along with Bruce Helman, a seventh degree black belt oversaw the judging of the Black Belt test. Instructor Margaret Vimont, who also happens to be JCFS Executive Vice President and COO, was promoted to fifth degree black belt.
It was Vimont who approached the co-presidents of the Universal Tae Kwon Do Federation (UTF) about having a national event and hosting it at the Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center, as a way to support and engage the growing group of Tae Kwon Do enthusiasts who participate in the program. The JCFS Family Commons Tae Kwon Do Community is affiliated with the UTF, which has branches in Oregon, Arizona, Wisconsin, Illinois and Florida.
“If you trained consistently, it would take about three to four years to progress to black belt,” Vimont said. Not only does a candidate have to demonstrate technical proficiency in Tae Kwon Do, she said, but as part of the UTF requirements, they have to submit a paper as well. It is a rigorous pursuit.
The JCFS community held their own test for all ranks later in the week, with guest judges from Oregon. Five students tested for ranks ranging from yellow stripe (the first promotion for new students) to blue belt for more senior students. The entire JCFS Tae Kwon Do community came out to support the students testing and to enjoy food, camaraderie and games during the annual end of year party.
JCFS clinician Deb Mier, received her yellow belt at the event. "I thought it was amazing. For someone new to Tae Kwon Do, I was struck by the importance of being at an event that involved so many committed to this art form,” said Mier. When asked about how long it took to achieve her yellow belt Mier said “What I’m learning as a novice, is not to be attached to the outcome. I’m doing it for personal growth and exercise. It seems to be hitting all these important aspects for me. The promotion was an added honor.”
The Tae Kwon Do community at JCFS began in 1994 and currently consists of 30 students of diverse ages and ability levels. "Family Commons was a great way to expand programming options and build on this established community," said Vimont, who founded the Family Commons program. "There's a perfect balance of the friendly, welcoming environment of a community center, with the learning and skill building in JCFS approach to inclusive recreation.
JCFS Family Commons inclusive recreation program was developed in 2011 in response to data from the annual JCFS Needs Assessment, completed for all registered individual clients to identify prevalent community needs, which showed that a large majority of clients were not getting enough physical activity. Family Commons makes it easier for families to exercise together by offering classes for children, siblings and adults of all abilities. Parents can stay and take a class of their own such as Yoga or Knitting while their children enjoy sports, cooking, arts and more. Tae Kwon Do is available for children and adults.
Classes last one hour and are available between 5 and 8 pm on Mondays and between 5 and 7 pm on Wednesdays. Family Commons will also be having an Open House on January 21, 6-8 p.m. at the Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center. The Winter 2013 session runs from January 28 to March 6. Register now for classes!