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2014 Taekwondo Winter Promotion Exam

2014 Taekwondo Winter Promotion Exam

Local mother and 3 children take taekwondo exam
Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
(NOTE: This article is reprinted with the kind permission of the MS Area Newspapers,

Taekwondo students show their skills during promotion exam

Area families saw a variety of skills on display at the Mount Shasta Martial Arts Program Winter Taekwondo Exam on March 19. 23 participants — ages 5 to 30-plus — from Mt. Shasta, Weed, and Dunsmuir took part in this test for their next rank.

Tiny Tigers Sparring Action Middle Punch in Horse Stance Tiny Tigers Sparring Action
The Tiny Tigers go big as they demonstrate their skills in sparring and paddle kicks.

The theme of this exam was “stand lower, kick higher — and be ready for anything.”

“In addition to assessing the core skills of kicks, blocks, strikes, and footwork, we’re very interested in seeing how well people could apply their abilities in different situations such as forms, free-sparring, and defense,” said MSMAP head instructor Chuck Buhs. “Our training is geared towards developing self-confidence and self-respect through self-training, self-discipline, and self-defense.”


 A family Affair

Dr. Peter Halt, co-owner of Mt. Shasta Radiology at Mercy Medical Center and founding instructor of MSMAP, also took part as a grader assessing the participants.

“I always enjoy participating in the promotional exams at MSMAP,” said Dr. Halt. “I am delighted to see the large turnout of new students and higher ranked students, who have now been involved for several years. It is particularly satisfying to see whole families involved. The success of an affordable, high-quality program depends on the development of student leaders and parent volunteers, and both are seen in abundance at MSMAP.”

Tiny Tigers Sparring Action Tiny Tigers Paddle Kicks Tiny Tigers Paddle Kicks
The Tiny Tigers go big as they demonstrate their skills in sparring and paddle kicks.

For the Redelspergers of Weed, it was a total family affair. Amy and her three children (Elizabeth, 9; Noraa, 7; Sam, 5) were alternatively thrilled and anxious during the exam while husband/dad Aaron watched from the audience.

Noraa “was a mixture of happy and a little bit worried that I might fail” while Elizabeth was “kind of nervous; I really wanted to get a yellow belt.” Sam was a bit more relaxed about it all: “I liked watching Mom take her belt test, and I liked playing face swap on Mom's phone.”

Tiny Tigers Paddle Kicks Tiny Tigers Paddle Kicks

“I had a lot of fun doing forms with the other students,” added Amy. “It was also really fun for me when I was doing roundhouse kicks across the floor and I kicked the paddle out of the holder’s hand! But, watching my kids take their exams was a combination of excitement and nervousness. I was proud to see them show all they knew and nervous for them to get things right that I have seen them do so well at home!”


 Getting Ready...for Anything

Livening things up, Dr. Halt took charge of the “be ready for anything” portion as the younger children stood in a circle around him. He then spun, swinging a padded stick, and testing the children’s reflexes to dodge or block.

Noraa and Elizabeth both enjoyed this activity while Sam had other thoughts. According to Noraa, “The most fun at the exam was getting whacked in the face by the guy who had the stick.”

“I didn't like when Dr. Halt hit me on the head with the stick when we were standing in the circle,” said Sam. “But I liked practicing in the circle.”

Tiny Tigers Paddle Kicks Tiny Tigers Paddle Kicks Tiny Tigers Paddle Kicks
Dr. Halt quizzes the upper ranks on some defense strategies including the rule of no-rules...and, and "I have a sword and you don't!" #scary #whattheheck #adrenalinerush

Dr. Halt also led a memorable activity at the end of the evening for the green belt participants (the highest ranks at this exam). Among the tests was their responses when threatened with a plastic medieval sword. Dr. Halt’s primary “point” emphasized the need for an immediate, simple reaction with complete abandon.

“I love adding realism to training even if it is sometimes uncomfortable or a bit scary,” Dr. Halt explained. “Our job as instructors is partially to talk about scary things to these kids. Martial arts programs in general, and this one specifically, are teaching peace through strength with a strong emphasis on conditioning, technique, self-control, and sportsmanship. We would be remiss, however, if we didn't teach self-defense with a realistic approach to a violent encounter. Applying techniques, blocks, kicks and punches with a cooperating partner is a lot different in an unrehearsed and adrenaline-rich setting.”

As to why they decided to participate in MSMAP, Amy shared that “We didn't start out to make this a family activity. However, as our son was enjoying himself, our daughters decided to join in. Then, I thought it just might be the right kind of exercise I need to motivate me to get in shape. My husband tried out the Yongmudo class and enjoys it so much that now all five of us participate as often as our schedule allows. We love that is affordable, fun and a great self-discipline that we can all participate.”

Elizabeth added, “I’m in Taekwondo because it's fun!”

End of a Big Exam
The Winter Taekwondo Promotion Exam tends to be our largest exam of the year. It's the culmination of a many hours, weeks, and months of hard work — and it shows!


 More Information

MSMAP, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located at 612-A S. Mt. Shasta Blvd., offers a variety of dynamic, invigorating, and modern martial arts training for children, teens, and adults six days each week. More information can be found on their website at, email ( ), phone ( 530.859.2024 ), and on Facebook (MSMAP on Facebook).

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