Left: Riley Valdez attends Centauri Middle School Right: Justin and Jocelynn Carter are students in the Alamosa School District
ALAMOSA — Justin Carterage 18, Jocelynn age 15, and Riley Valdez age 11, tested for the rank of 1st Dan Black Belt in the martial art of Taekwondo on October 7, 2017. Under the instruction of Mr. mMike Flavin and Mr. Fred Hayashida the three students all started as white belts over five years ago and attended the twice-weekly classes, year-round since then. They worked their way to high red belts before enduring a five hour test where they demonstrated what they had learned over the years. The test took place in front of a testing board of black belts from Denver and the San Luis Valley.
The testers performed skills made up of 10 forms. The test included 149 punching, blocking and kicking line motions, target and step sparring techniques, board and tile breaking (hand and feet), a two minute Ho Sin Sul routine and five minutes of continual sparring with a fresh partner every 30 seconds. The testing ended with a 50 question written test on the history and philosophy of Taekwondo.
The mental discipline, physical exercise and moral lessons of Taekwondo have helped these students with many aspects of life. While the exercise performed in practice helps build physical strength and flexibility, it also develops self-esteem, discipline and respect for others.
For the next year the students will be considered black belts on probationary period. During this time the students must participate in class, teach the child and adult classes, help with testing among other activities. They teach classes in Alamosa, Fort Garland and La Jara.