PREPARE FOR BLACK BELT.....PREPARE FOR LIFE!!!!!!
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What is TaeKwon Do – A martial art from Korea which literally means foot – hand – way (of life). Foot refers to the dynamic kicking associated with TKD. Hand refers to the hand techniques also studied and performed. Way of Life refers to practicing the 5 Tenets of TaeKwon Do, student oath & school rules not only inside the Do-Jang (training area) but throughout our everyday life.
5 Tenets of TKD – Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit. The tenets are as important to a students training in TKD as the physical techniques are. Without utilizing the tenets a student would never reach his/her goal – which in the martial arts is generally viewed as reaching black belt- but are also characteristics needed to reach any type of goal.
The Student Oath
1. I shall observe the tenets of TAEKWONDO
2. I shall respect the instructor and seniors.
3. I shall never misuse TaeKwon Do.
4. I shall be a champion of freedom and justice.
5. I shall build a more peaceful world.
Black belt – “A blackbelt is nothing more than a belt that goes around your waist. Being a blackbelt is a state of mind and attitude.” – Rick English
As an instructor I stress it is not the color of the belt that is important but the journey, lessons learned and lives changed. In the beginning there were only 2 colors – white and black – because after a student trained for years his/her sweat, training, etc would actually turn the white belt black as it is never to be washed.
Why TKD? – All martial arts are unique and strong as they have been perfected throughout the generations and the trick is to find the style that fits your personality. I chose to train and teach TKD because I like the balance aspect of the art by balancing the physical & mind/spiritual; offensive & defensive moves; utilizing feet & hand techniques; and the actual movement through techniques require “coming back to center” which is something I believe is also helpful to do outside of any training. And it is an art with so many facets that I believe any student can excel regardless of size, strength, and athletic ability because physical strength is as important as knowledge which is as important as character. Besides teaching the 5 Tenets and the oath I felt there was even more TKD offered and that is how TKD K.I.C.K.S. got its name – Keep fit; Inner strength, Confidence, Kinship and Self-defense.
Why Twice a Week – It has been traditional practice in TKD to have training twice a week and feel that it is especially beneficial to children to help them better retain the information and therefore see bigger achievements.
Intro Letter from Owner of TaeKwon Do K.I.C.K.S
Dear Student & Parents,
Welcome and congratulations on taking your first step in your TaeKwon Do journey. The journey is very personal and different for each person as all good journeys should be. So this is absolutely your journey. You decide how far you are going to travel – will you make it to blackbelt and beyond. What you are going to experience – will you compete in tournaments and/or become an instructor. My job is to challenge you, improve your self-confidence and provide you with the tools you will need not only on your TaeKwon Do journey but also for your ‘Life Journey’.
TaeKwon Do means literally Foot – Hand – The Way. Foot refers to kicking; Hand to punching; and The Way refers to the 5 Tenets – courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. These tenets have been practiced since the beginning of TaeKwon Do and are as important to the journey as the physical techniques you will learn. A person who possesses all the physical techniques but does not faithfully demonstrate or live by the 5 tenets is not a true TaeKwon Do student.
I started my journey in 1982 as a 12-year-old girl because my father wanted me to learn self-defense. It truly was a long journey as I had many detours – sometimes stopping training by choice when other aspects of life became more of a priority (which it sometimes does – not always a bad thing) or by injury derailment. Out of 100 students statistics state that only 10 will make it to 1st degree blackbelt and only 1 will make it to 2nd degree (there are a total of 9 certified degrees). In Sept of 1992 I finally became a 1st degree blackbelt. If a student trains continuously it usually takes 3 – 4 years to achieve blackbelt but as you can see I took a very scenic route. However that is one of the amazing things about this art is that anyone can do it at any point in their life and it provides us the challenges and the strengths we need at that particular point. I feel I learned a lot during those detours about myself and about Taekwon Do, which has helped me be a better student and instructor.
Teaching my own students had always been a dream of mine but once again life seemed to have changed my course of direction when I stopped training & teaching in 1999 as a 3rd degree blackbelt due to job relocation and eventually marriage and kids. I had given up the dream after the birth of my 2nd child feeling that I would never have the time or physical stamina/fitness to ever teach a class again (at this time I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and had a total hip-replacement in Sept 2009), which does provide their own daily challenges. However the dream was reborn after teaching a couple of classes in an athletics section at my daughter’s school where it truly excited and affected a few students whose mothers approached me about teaching and Presto TaeKwon Do K.I.C.K.S. was started. I received my 4th Degree Master Blackbelt in Oct 2009 by testing under Master Laurie Dion – my original instructor who flew up from S. Carolina. I have also started teaching special kids self defense courses called BRAVE Kids which focuses on verbal and physical skills against bullies and strangers with the help of a fully padded male instructor.
K.I.C.K.S. stands for Keep Fit; Inner Strength; Confidence: Kinship and Self-Defense. These are more tools that I feel are also important in our life journey along with the tenets. So I hope you will continue on this journey with me and let it take you where you want to go. I am grateful and thankful for you – my student – because you are my inspiration and represent the future of TaeKwon Do K.I.C.K.S.. Thank you for placing your trust in me and I promise to do my best and give you 200% as your guide & instructor. Now let’s line up and get started on this journey together.
Forever your instructor,
Master Kellie Thomas
The 2016 Robert E. Collins Award from Middlebury Parks & Recreation Department, which is given to a community member who exemplifies the example Robert Collins set for the Middlebury Community through recreational teaching, volunteerism, and community spirit.
Received 6th Degree in 2019