Master Gong responded after her promotion with the following essay. Click below for the complete text:
A Tribute to Friendships
Master Gong is deeply saddened by the loss of her long-time friend Master Ruben Casanova who was a student of Grand Master Suk Jun Kim since the early 1970's. This loss created a large void in both Grand Master Kim and Master Gong lives. Their friendship goes way back to GM Kim's Bergenfield NJ TKD School and their common bond and passion for taekwondo.
Master Gong and Master Casanova first crossed paths in Junior High School #125 around 1967 when they were two skinny 12-year-old kids living in the Bronx. Master Gong's grandfather signed her up to Sihak Henry Cho Bronx satellite school. One evening, in walked Ruben, his uncle Danny and his maternal grandfather. All of them were enrolled in the same S Henry Cho satellite school. All were practicing diligently every day, sometimes two classes per evening. This was the beginning of 47 years of friendship. (more ...)
Complete text of Master Gong's heartfelt and touching essay (PDF)
The Fall 2014 Suk Jun Kim Championship in New York City was a great success and attracted competitors and volunteer referees and judges from several Taekwondo Union schools. S.J. Kim's Taekwondo would like to thank everyone who participated and volunteered their time and energy. This event was an exemplar of traditional Taekwondo practice and Union unity. See you in 2015!
Earlier this month, Luca Mele, age 12, returned to classes at Asheville Sun Soo after making a challenging recovery from brain surgery earlier this year. Luca was diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumor in April that had to be removed immediately. The surgery went well but the position of the tumor required the removal of Luca's pituitary gland. As a result, he requires ongoing medication and other cautionary measures to regulate his hormones, temperature, and hydration levels. In the face of these challenges however, Luca has maintained a truly indomitable spirit through this entire ordeal and is very excited to be back in class. We are very grateful for Luca’s ongoing recovery and thrilled that he is able to practice again. Thanks to all the TKDI members who offered their support to Luca through the August Fundraiser and otherwise. At Asheville Sun Soo, we are proud to be a part of this excellent and caring family of Taekwon-Do International martial artists.
Donations were collected to support the Violence Intervention Program run by Opportunities for Otsego on Saturday October 4, 2014. Over 30 women took part in the 3 hour class led by black belts from Taekwon-do International. Oneonta Police Detective Jennifer Torres began the session with a presentation on street smarts, awareness, and valuable advice based upon her years of experience. Third degree black belt Amy Dexter from Asheville, North Carolina taught women how to escape from various attacks including front and rear chokes, and hair pulling. Dexter helped the women fend off attackers while pinned to the ground on their stomachs and backs. Master Ray Mannion of Oneonta Taekwon-Do, a fourth degree black belt, organized the event and taught various striking methods which the women practiced on punching pads.
On Saturday September 27th Grandmaster Spillmann & his son Masters Davis of ATC Gallatin took students to compete in Nashville at the Shin's 39th Southern USA Nashville Open Karate Tournament.
ATC students competed and all had a fantastic turn out and won many divisions. The eight students took home 16 trophies winning many 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards in forms and contact fighting.
The students that attended gave all they could and never gave up even when faced with a barrage of attack, inner struggles and adversity as it was their first time competing as students.
ATC Gallatin will be a serious force to be reckoned with in the future as they continue competing at Open Karate, Traditional TaeKwonDo and Olympic TaeKwonDo events. ATC Martial Arts students not only are motivated to be the best in all aspects of their lives but are required to maintain top academics and become leaders in their community.
The students pictured also maintain top grades.
Students from the Yang Taekwondo competition team competed at the 15th Annual Gold Cup held at Queens College on Sunday, October 12.
Blue belt August Arvidsson won his first match 3-2 against a bigger purple belt opponent. He then outlasted another blue belt 2-0 for his second victory. Then in his third match he lost a close one to finish in bronze medal position.
Green belt Tahchee Lordet easily won his first match against a blue belt opponent and then topped another very talented blue belt 7-3 to win his division.
Congratulations! Both students will be competing at the 11th Annual Masters Taekwondo Championship in Colonia, NJ this weekend, followed by the Suk Jun Kim's Interschool Championship on Sunday, November 9.
A promotion test was held at Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, Montclair, NJ, on September 27, 2014. Students testing ranged in age from 4 year old Mighty Lions, to Senior Adults, including 9 year old Saheli who received her Junior 1st Degree Black Belt.