Arch Taekwon do
Archtkd. Martial arts in USA. Taekwondo classes in St. Louis.
Archtkd. Martial arts in USA. Taekwondo classes in St. Louis.
Arch Taekwon do

Ten Arch Members Earn Kukkiwon Blackbelts

Master Patrick Thimangu - Archtkd. Martial arts in USA. Taekwondo classes in St. Louis.
Practicing and sticking to a martial art can be daunting for most adults, but 10 Arch Taekwondo members have beaten the odds by earning blackbelts, the entryway to the highest ranks of Asian combat disciplines.

The members, including Patrick L. Thimangu, Arch Taekwondo master instructor and principal, attained new blackbelts in taekwondo after passing vigorous physical tests Feb. 18. Grandmasters Duk Gun Kwon and William Jeffries, who are among the world’s highest ranked taekwondo practitioners, judged the tests which were run in accordance with regulations of the World Taekwondo Headquarters.

The Seoul, Korea-based headquarters, which is commonly known as the Kukkiwon, is the official and internationally recognized issuer of  Kukkiwon-style taekwondo black belt and master instructor certifications. GM Kwon, a Chicago resident, is a 9th degree Kukkiwon blackbelt while GM Jeffries, a St. Louis area native, holds 7th degree blackbelt rank.

Thimangu earned 5th degree Kukkiwon black belt ranking. Other Arch Taekwondo members who were promoted to new ranks were: Tracey Ward, 3rd degree; Alison K. Matsunaga and David Ward,  2nd degree; and Glennon F. Evans III, Eric D. Greitens, Patrick Jolly, Stephen Jolly, and LaTonja T. Thomas, who earned 1st degree status.

Thimangu’s elevation to 5th dan came nearly 26 years after he began practicing taekwondo in Nairobi, Kenya, and almost 22 years since he came to the U.S.  GM Kwon, one of Thimangu’s first taekwondo teachers and mentors in America, oversaw his 1st degree blackbelt test in 1993 and 4th degree test in 2007.

“It was a truly humbling experience, and a very special occasion to have a judge of the rank and caliber of Grandmaster Kwon come to judge me and my students in the first blackbelt testing of our dojang,” Thimangu said. “It was touching to see this man, who has spent more than 60 years practicing taekwondo, come and evaluate what we are doing here in St. Louis to promote healthy living through taekwondo.”  

Following the tests, GM Kwon said much of what he observed at Arch Taekwondo closely resembled how he himself learned and taught taekwondo. He also said he was pleased to see a taekwondo school that has a large number of adult members, in an era when the bulk of American taekwondo dojangs exclusively focus on young children.

The blackbelt tests took nearly three hours, during which students where examined for proficiency and expertise in the basics of taekwondo, advanced kicking techniques, forms, self defense, Olympic-style sparring, and breaking techniques. Thimangu broke three stacked cement paving slabs with the palm of his hand. Tracey Ward demonstrated speed breaking by shattering a 1-inch pine board with a roundhouse kick using the in-step of her foot, and Matsunaga broke a similar piece of wood board with a spinning hook kick.

It usually takes two-and-a-half to three years of steady practice for adults to attain 1st degree certification in Kukkiwon-style taekwondo, a Korean martial art and Olympic sport. Evans, Greitens, Meara, and Thomas began practicing taekwondo from scratch at Arch Taekwondo. Matsunaga,  David and Tracey Ward, and Patrick and Stephen Jolly joined  Arch Taekwondo with previous experience from other schools. The Wards, who are husband and wife, also run the YOSI Taekwondo Tigers program at the YMCA of Southern Illinois, in Belleville, Ill.

For more information about Arch Taekwondo, please browse through our website, or call (314) 533-4999. Additional news and pictures of our dojang and Taekwondo can be found by clicking on the Facebook page link at the bottom of this page.
News Source: Arch Taekwondo. | Dated: 2012-03-03 16:46:00

Arch Taekwon do