Twenty- five martial artists earned higher rank in the April promotion testing at the Stevens Point YMCA, with four taekwondo students achieving black belt levels.
Luke McChrystal earned his third degree black belt with a sharp performance of the taebek form and demonstrating advanced kicks and sparring skills. McChrystal snapped a board easily on the first try with a speed break using a back spinning hook kick.
Jessica Tomaszewski and mother-son duo Carrie and Gavin Murray achieved deputy black belt level with their demonstration of kicks, five taebek forms and advanced sparring. Tomaszewski persisted in her efforts even after an injury delay and broke a board with a back spinning side kick. Carrie Murray used an inside crescent, back spinning side kick to shatter her board on the first attempt. Gavin Murray chose a challenging jumping back spinning hook kick for his board break, held by his father, third degree black belt Dan Murray Jr..
Michael Buchkowski, owner and master instructor at North Star Taekwondo Academy in Wausau, wowed the audience with his demonstration of a palm heel break of six concrete patio blocks.
Three taekwondo students took home trophies for excellence in testing. Father-son duo Bill and Nathan Gerbode, both new yellow belts, won the first and second place trophies respectively. High yellow belt Owen Yach earned third place.
Master instructor Dwight Stevens, assisted by senior masters Mark Henkel and Ron Locascio, judged the students from the YMCA Stevens Taekwondo Academy and Stevens Taekwondo Academy A New Way of Life. Visiting masters Jerry Hajewski and Shawn Strunsee of the Milwaukee area also assisted.
Black Belt News
Third dan black belt John Paul Bunn was honored as the Volunteer of the Year by the Stevens Point YMCA recently. Bunn clocked more than 160 hours of volunteer work in 2016.
Senior masters Mark and Hilde Henkel distributed information about the Stevens Taekwondo Academy taekwondo program at the YMCA Community Family Fair recently and are available for similar activities to publicize the program. Many of the visitors at the table did not know that the YMCA had taekwondo classes, but a few of the parents mentioned attending when they were students---and were invited to return.