Altona Taekwondo Club members who were recently tested were: Back row, Amanda Wright, Joshua Wright, Jordan Yan, Jossie Yan, Keegan Friesen and Cyusa Ndahiro. Front, Hunter Friesen, Master Sergei Kanke and Jun Yan.
The Altona Taekwondo Club recently held a fall belt promotion test. Master Sergei Kanke says while not many members were training hard through the summer, it was a very rewarding day for those who did.
“Regular attendance is a vital part of learning this art,” he says. “Hard work and consistency definitely show at the testing level.”
During the test, students had to demonstrate strength and endurance, practical and theoretical knowledge in patterns (a series of martial art techniques), as well as demonstrate and explain techniques like kicks, blocks and stands.
A good understanding of commands in Korean, and knowledge of some extra Korean words is a must in Taekwondo.
“You hear it at every training session, so you learn to grasp it fairly quickly,” Kanke says.
At the end of the test, students also have to break wooden boards. A competition focused specifically on this skill took place Nov. 11.
Kanke says he’s very proud of the effort the students have put into the program.
“I was really happy with the results,” he says. “The minimum in the test is 70%. The lowest mark from the eight people that were tested was 73%, all except one of the students was over 80%, with three of them over 90%.”
The club’s numbers often fluctuate with each season, he says, with many families training together. Many keep returning year after year. Ages can range from three to well past retirement. “I give everyone very personalized training, according to their personal goals. And those are the things they are tested on as well.”
He adds that along with reaching those fitness goals, members are also there to have fun.
“Being part of a group with common goals is a big part of it. They train together three times a week, so they actually feel like a small family. We work hard to succeed, but we also enjoy being here. Some people are very shy when they start out, but they quickly become very outgoing and enthusiastic.”
Kanke has been instructing Taekwondo in Altona for nearly 10 years, using space in school gyms for training sessions.
His new facility on 2nd Ave. opened January 2016, and he says having consistently clean, martial arts flooring, a permanent place to store equipment and not having to worry about availability has made all the difference.
“There really isn’t any excuse not to stay fit, in spite of the season. In summer, swimming is the ideal exercise, and in winter, cross country skiing is wonderful. And balanced martial arts would also be in the top three. I offer year round training. So come in and we’ll talk. We can come up with a personal plan that reflects your own fitness goals.”