Taekwondo club, Smoky River Road Warriors in Donnelly, hosted a belt promotion ceremony that marks an advancement for the students’ progressing towards a black belt.
Also participating in the ceremony was the Iron Tiger Club from Manning.
Both Donnelly and Manning train under grand master James Lo, based out of Edmonton, so the clubs alternate hosting the ceremony, which usually takes place twice a year.
While the majority of the 51 people testing at the April 9 event were young kids ranging from 5 years-old and up, the oldest was 35.
“It is a good opportunity for the parents and friends of the participants to see how the kids have been progressing,” says Alain Johnson, instructor with the Smoky River Road Warriors .
“It kind of like an annual end of year concert, but different. It gives an opportunity for parents, family and friends to come in and see the full setup, the sparring match, full equipment and to see how far the kids have come.”
The belt graduation ceremony is the second part of a two-part test so everybody who participated at the Donnelly event is qualified to take part in the ceremony and has already proven a level of skill that makes passing the second phase pretty much a certainty, making the event essentially ceremonial.
“It is almost a guarantee pass on the weekend because they have already done part of the test,” says Johnson. “Therefore, nobody comes up and gets embarrassed by not passing the test.”
Apart from the martial arts skills acquired doing taekwondo, Johnson also points out that its value extends to other facets of a person’s life.
“It has many other aspects that are advantages for the kids. It’s a group sport and it keeps kids occupied, working on their health with a bit of discipline and self-control.”
The Smoky River Road Warriors had approximately 40 members at the beginning of this year with thirty members showing up regularly to train. The club trains from September to mid-April and is now closed until the fall.