Black belt testing at Club TKD

After years of intense training, skill development and pushing physical and mental boundaries, Taekwondo students achieved various degrees of black belts on May 18th at Club TKD Martial Arts. Amongst students of all ages and belt levels, two individuals from Newbury Park High School (NPHS), David Vallance and Jordan Milota, tested for their fourth-degree black belts, earning them the title of Master. 

As upbeat, high-energy music played, students proved their skills on the day of the test. Although anxiety was high with instructors, friends and family watching, the Black Belt candidates remained focused, moving through the forms they had drilled over and over, refining. “I guess you could describe it as holding your breath a little bit. But as soon as you get out there, I guess you’re actually hyper-focused on so many different [things] that you’re not paying attention to who’s watching you and so all that nervousness kind of goes away,” Vallance said.

Now a fourth-degree black belt and master, Milota has trained in Taekwondo for over 10 years. Over these years, he has enjoyed the camaraderie between students and instructors in the studio as they learn from each other, constantly pushing to improve. “Even during the test, you can see, we were all very supportive of each other,” Milota said.

The time leading up to the test was spent training in a rigorous six-month candidate program. Students took candidate classes every week where they practiced weapons, sparring, board-breaking and the numerous Taekwondo forms, striving for perfection. In addition to training themselves, the black belt candidates began instructing as part of the qualifications. The owner of Club TKD Martial Arts, Jeong Jake Yoo (Master Yoo), believes in the importance of being able to guide others. “[Students] also start assisting classes to understand how to help people and gain leadership,” Yoo said. Not only does a Black Belt candidate gain a higher level of personal strength, but also the skills to lead and assist others in achieving the same levels of discipline that they have developed.

To end the test, both Milota and Vallance shared their individual journeys of training in Taekwondo at Club TKD Martial Arts. From earning their first belt to assisting their first class, their years of time and commitment dedicated to martial arts have built up to this moment. “It feels gratifying in the sense that you’ve been working on something for so long, and it’s finally paying off. You know, the people around you, your friends, family. They’re all there to support you. And being done just makes it feel earned,” Vallance said. 


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