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2019 Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation
Northeast Regional Championships and Dan Shim Sa

by Gary Starecheski
with assistance from Daniel Goodyear, Helen Goodyear, Dave, Ava and JD MacDonell,
Zechariah and Symmes Gardner, Zell and Olly Donovan


The Northeast Regional Tournament and Dan Shim Sa has become a grand fall tradition showcasing Tang Soo Do expertise, camaraderie, and spirit amidst a backdrop of brilliant fall foliage. This was the second year we convened at Henry Wilson Memorial School in Farmington, NH which has proven to be a fantastic venue. The energy was palpable as Masters and competitors assembled after months of planning and detailed preparation.

Following the judges and timekeeper/scorekeeper meetings, competition began at last. All morning the air was filled with cheering, clapping, kihaps, and the crack of boards breaking as black belts of all ages and ranks demonstrated a high level of expertise and spirit. Points were tallied and medals awarded in many close competitions.

International Master Duva called us to order for the opening ceremonies. We were all sorely disappointed that Grandmaster St James was unable to attend but Senior International Master Klacko reminded us that this was the first major event ever missed by the Grandmaster.
The National Anthem is inspiring but the performance by Ever Drewicz took it to a whole new level as her fantastic voice expressed feeling that went right to our hearts. The Five Codes and Seven Tenets of Tang Soo Do were led by students Marvi Spahiu, Adam Bedingfield and Maya Bedingfield as all in attendance echoed their words with increasing volume and spirit.

The morning had been filled with close competition so there was much suspense as we awaited the announcement of Grand Champion
Trophies. The winners were Mr. Sebastian Toledo of Cambridge Tang Soo Do and Ms. Chance Drewicz of Cambridge Tang Soo Do. We were then treated to an intricate and entertaining demonstration by students from Cambridge Tang Soo Do that raised the level of excitement to a peak level as we moved into the afternoon Gup competition. There was great participation from around the Northeast, including a large number of youths building their confidence with the challenge of competition. Tournament competition is about so much more than winning medals but it can be hard to describe this deeper aspect. Perhaps it is best to let the martial artists speak for themselves.

"It was really fun doing my form and showing my power, and I had a lot of fun being with my classmates and friends"

"What I liked about the tournament was it was fun and pushes me to do my hardest and I liked going there meeting new people"

"I really like attending the tournament as its a fun an exciting and challenging competing against other students from other areas. While it is a competition and everyone is trying hard I find the other competitors to be very supportive and friendly. I met some great people, learned a lot from watching others and really had fun."

"My favorite part was breaking boards. I got a medal for it! I also thought it was fun to see the high black belts sparring."

"The tournament was fun! I didn't earn a medal but I did my best."

"It was nerve wrecking and awesome at the same time! I am happy because I did my first palm heel strike board break."

"It was really powerful to see that we are part of a larger martial arts community and what an impressive community it is. I came away really inspired and my son and I are recommitting ourselves to the goal of making it to black belt and beyond."

It was time to relax and many students and Masters gathered at Newick's Restaurant to tell and hear stories about the days activities, make new friends, and solidify old friendships. On Sunday Masters and candidates assembled for the Dan Shim Sa. After the written test it was time for more action and the candidates brought a high level of energy and technical proficiency to the floor. Some quotes from candidates may help to explain the amazing event that is Shim Sa.

“It was a 4 hour adrenaline rush, trying to maintain the flow of physical and spiritual energy. Getting to a level of being able to test for black belt is a momentous occasion. A culmination of years of practice and learning, but also a stepping stone to more learning. It is an honor to be able to have learned the skills necessary to get to this point. I am only more energized to learn more as well as try to teach the younger students."

“Even though I was a total ball of nerves the entire time, I don't think there is ever a place where you learn more than a belt test. I came out of this weekend and all I wanted to do was practice more because I was able to see all I that I could learn in the future. I feel beyond lucky that I was able to participate."

Best of Test Trophies were awarded to:
 - Youth: Helen Goodyear of Crouching Lion Tang Soo Do
 - Adult: Marc Nemeth of Crouching Lion Tang Soo Do and Mr Nemeth also had the highest score in the written test.

   
   

 

 

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