Tae Kwon Do

A break from cars….My Son Jett

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I normally I try to keep our blogs technical or business related. This is not one of those cases. This time of year I believe one should reflect on family and all that means. Stuff is nice, but without our children our spouses none of it would amount to much if anything if at all. I wanted to share an event that is somewhat monumental in our lives. At least to me and I know Jett. As many know and maybe not from the various blogs we have been blessed with two wonderful boys. Jett(9) and Quinn (6) Of course all parents think that their children are special. Well ours really are =) Jett is thoughtful, kind and honestly a very compassionate and soft soul. Quinn is assertive, playful, funny, compassionate and so sensitive below the surface. Both of our children, Roxanne and I put in martial arts at an early age. Jett had an incident when he was in preschool where another student pushed him down while he stood quietly to himself and his tiny hands attached carefully to the inside of his pockets. Furious I ran to the school to get my baby boy and told Rox that as soon as we could we would place him in martial arts.

 

My goal knowing how I was growing up was to place him in the arts as an activity not a means of self defense. After all like father like son. Well, not in this case. Jett being the kind soul he is, he was resistant to hitting anything or anyone. Kicking, punching was fun but when it came time to spar he always felt bad and never wanted a scuffle. All the makings of a true Black Belt! 

 

It has been so many years now I don‘t recall when we actually started Jett in the arts. See, it has been a journey for all of us as Roxanne reintroduced me to the arts and I am also Jett’s teacher from time to time. One of the hardest things I have found out through the years is you can be a teacher and a coach or you can be a dad. It is almost impossible to be both. You want to be a teacher and do all the things you know but when it comes to your own kids, you can’t stop being a dad and that truly interferes with what his/your goals are and your ability to teach effectively. It is important that one understands that our Jr Black Belts do not do anything different testing wise than what an adult does. Jett did exactly what I did for my belt to test for his belt. If you think about it that is huge for a 9 year old. There are criteria that he had to meet, but at the same time a spirit that had to be developed inside. This is not something you teach nor even something you can push. It eventually happens and as a father and an instructor you just know. They know and then the world knows. It is not a word or a conversation that happens, he doesn’t walk around saying anything, and you look at him and know…he has confidence and a glow about himself that explains what he is. As a teacher it is a sense of pride that a student achieves this. As a father I feel my arms go warm and my chest contracts as I get an overwhelming sensation throughout my body, that pride is almost without words to describe.

 

We were having our dyno day a few weekends ago here at the shop and I was torn as Jett had his testing. I am blessed to have a good crew and a wonderful wife that allowed me the space to skip out and take Jett to his testing. As we headed over there I shared these thoughts and feelings with him. I am not sure he understands all of it but I know in my heart 20 years from now he will smile and remember it. For me, well you see the movies as you pass on your final days-the waves of memories that pass. If that is true that ride to the school will be one of them. We quickly pulled up to the door and I rustled his baby fine blonde hair and said “give it hell and I no matter what happens I am very proud”. I Kissed the only spot on him that still has any baby fat, those rosy cheeks and rushed him inside.

 

The testing procedure is very long, after all there is a physical part to being a black belt…..right. =) The testing goes as such, board breaking, yes they have to physically kick through a one inch boards. At this level Jett was required to do two foot techniques. Both should demonstrate speed and focus. If you think just hitting the board is enough, good luck with that!

 

You must know every belt forum from white belt to black belt. Remembering there are 2 green belts, 2 blue belts, 3 brown belts. The order is white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, black recommended then the real deal, Black decided. You must perform a series of attack defenses, knife defense and finally show all your skills of all the years combined in sparring. Your rank then higher ranks, bigger people, etc….

 

Jett always seems to find an inner self at testing. He is a free spirit, but on these days he means business. This is very remarkable that a 9 year old can do this. He turns it on and off when he knows it is important. A very noble trait and one that is needed to be a BB. Jett’s first task was the boards. What is funny is in the beginning it was always a struggle to get him to have the confidence because his ability was always there to just walk up and kick the boards. So many of the kids can not judge their distance and have to touch the board, measure, touch again, one step back, another half step, hip in then snap the kick..As he walked up to the holders I ran to the front of the class only to sit down on the floor and ready the camera and look up to hear “crraaack” he didn’t setup up he didn’t think he simply walked up and knew his distance and popped the board. In real life there is no time to set anything up. I sat there in awe, speechless and fumbled for the on button on the top the camera. He switched sides and did it again! Now normally I am to be suited up, no excuses but I came up with many for Mr Lee that day as I sat on the floor. I wanted to be a dad and I was. As I stared through the view finder I fought what otherwise would have been a real mess of tears. The viewfinder got fuzzy as the tears sat on the top ridge of my bottom eye lash. As a single tear streamed gently off of my check and I quickly ran the back of my hand over it like a wiper clearing a bug from a windshield I couldn’t have been any prouder. I really couldn’t. This little soul I have watched from a little baby in the palm of my hand to where we are now and certainly that day was amazing, hell is still amazing! You never know how life will turn out and what your children will be on that memorable day that you and your wife sit together on that bed holding the perfect creation, your child. All without words really so that is the best I can do to describe. Hope some of it makes sense. If you are a parent then I know you do.

 

Testing is always filled with lots of people, one of them being my friend and master, Dave Johnson. He also happens to be the president of the Black Belt Association. He sits at the head of this table with 7 other masters and Mr Lee judging the testing. You are only allowed 3 mistakes in the whole process! That is not easy for anyone. Certainly not me and I can only imagine for a young child the pressure, but it was a wonderful feeling when you look up and Dave gives you that approving nod! As a teacher I get that approval or disapproval from the board by simply inquiring with my eyes, and in this case I was filled with joy to know that my judgment of Jett’s wonderful effort had not gone unnoticed by the panel either.

 

Forward now a week and a half. Tuesday we all left early to pick up the boys. My overpriced twin turboed snow mobile doesn’t do so well in the snow so Rox and I made like the old days and rode into work together then left together to go get the boys early to avoid being late. They played in the snow for a while and I text Dave back and forth to make sure we were still having class. The few hours passed as Jett watched some TV and Quinn shoveled more of the grass than the driveway. We finally headed to class. We walked through the door and looked at the 80s vintage paper printed off from what has to be the last working Dot Matrix printer in North America nice and secure in Mrs. Lees office. It doesn’t matter what the paper is as long as those names and ranks are on there and the stamp that has been used to from the 60s is imprinted on the bottom with the “AKTA” approval. We all peered at the paper and near the top was “Jett Kaspar 1R-1D” My boy was an official 1st decided black belt.

 

So hug your family, forget the cars, the go fast goodies for a second and breathe in if nothing more than a  moment what is important. Then when you are done call me for some mods 😉

 

Sorry for all the as I say “blah blah” So many things we get caught up in as our lives, things become more complicated and tasks seem to over run us. I just wanted to share something dear….

 

Happy Holidays, Stephen AKA PhD

 

 

 

 

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Sports, Tae Kwon Do, Uncategorized

Another Black Belt

As we have discussed I have several passions, Porsches, weight lifting, Tae Kwon Do, Hap Ki Do and Ju Jitsu. About 2 months ago we were readying for a tournament. In fact the entire family was working at sharpening up techniques in order to compete.  Last year I took third in my division in the Midwest Championships. My goal this year was to take first. 

 As we headed in to harder and harder sparring matches I had noticed one evening that my ankle was the size of a golf ball. No pain really, just rather large. During a sparring match I had made contact with someone’s head which in turn had caused a fracture across the lateral of my ankle. I figured there was no way that it could be broken based on the amount of weight I was still lifting in addition to the fact I was still able to move on it and not experience any pain. 4 weeks later Mrs. PhD had convinced me that no ones ankle swells that long unless something is wrong. So off for the diagnosis of a broken ankle I went. 

 So now that the tournament was out of the question, I went back to teaching. I really was not allowed to do any kind of moving around in class – not by my wife nor my Masters.   I was finally cleared by my doctor 10 days before testing and was quickly approached by Master Johnson. He asked if I was testing for my belt this time around.  I told him probably not since I haven’t moved around for 6 weeks and had zero wind.  I was thinking along the lines of a December time frame.  Master Johnson leaned over and looked at the file cabinet where the calendar was and popped back up. “That gives you 10 days, plan on testing”.  I had no choice but to say “Ok,” but not really convinced that I would be ready.  

For the next 10 days I pushed myself to the limit in order to build my wind and mobility back up. Karl and I rolled (Ju Jitsu training) for almost 45 minutes to an hour at a time. Folks, if you have never rolled for wrestling, grappling, Ju Jitsu or other ground sparring, this is extreme training to go nonstop for that length of time.  An average match lasts 3 or 5 minutes. On the nights that I was in TKD I was a student, no teaching this time, just sparring. Not just sparring but sparring with Master Johnson. Again, 2 minute rounds turned in to 5, 6, 7 minutes at a time, 4 times a night. We did not stop until both of us were incapable of breathing.  

Saturday morning rolled around and I packed my uniform, belt and pads up, rounded up the family and we headed off to testing. Jett our oldest will be testing in December for his Black Belt so he did not test that day.  But it was testing day for Quinn who advanced to Brown Belt and Mrs. PhD to middle Brown belt.   

As an instructor I am required even if I am testing to help with the testing day. We have 6 schools that funnel in to the main AKTA (Choon Lee’s) academy.  As I was holding boards I look out into the crowd to see my dad, Roxanne’s dad, and one of our friend and employees there to watch. No pressure right?….right!!! The day progressed and my testing came and went. It consisted of two forms, Choong Moo and Kwang Gae.  One form is 30 movements and the other is 39movements. You are allowed one mistake during your entire testing! Additionally I am also to perform 6 knife defense techniques, 5 attack/defense techniques, board breaking with both feet and one hand technique and of course many rounds of sparring. It takes no less than 5 hours to complete this and makes for a very long day.  

At the end of the day I walked away feeling great! 10 days of hell had paid off. Afterwards a select few always make their way with Mr. Lee to the Chinese Buffet where we relax and unwind.  

As of last night the results were posted. I am officially now a 2nd Degree Black Belt

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engine builder, Personnel, porsche performance, Tae Kwon Do

More than Porsches, my other hobbies

This is a little off the Porsche Track and more on the personal level and a little insight to why I am able to manage stress!  When I was 13 I was introduced in to the martial arts. It was for various reasons, but mostly for self defense. I completed most of my levels to achieve a Black recommend then stopped. When you are young you assume that what you have done as far as being able to use the art is enough. Like any cocky 17 year old I walked away from the art. I tried during the late 90s to go back and that lasted all of two weeks.  Fast forward now 16 years! I am searching for a school to place my son in and stumble across an extension of the academy I had trained from so many years prior. I quickly ran over there and there was a lady doing some book work. We chatted a while then came to the conclusion this was the same  6 year old I use to watch when her dad brought her to the school. It was the daughter of one of my instructors! Life moves fast and so does aging! We quickly placed Jett into the program. At this point I was being asked by Roxanne, my wife to stop being a lobby coach and if I knew so much then get back into class. My response was always the same, that was a long time ago and I know you can’t put tooth paste back in the tube. Upon the third week I was greeting by my wife and a new uniform as I entered the school. Could this be? Can you do this I asked? She quickly explained that she had worked it out with Master Johnson that I would not loose all my ranks and be testing for my brown belts which placed me at approximately 2 years to receive my blackbelt. I took the offer not knowing what to expect. Other than a little huffing and puffing from the 3 cigars I inhaled a day!! Yikes.

My first 6 months were anything but fun. Trying to make a late 30 year olds body work like it did when it was 17 is damn near impossible.  I never gave up and finally started to make some head way! I gained my speed and agility back and realized that I also had a thought process that replaced high testosterone levels. I hit harder and nothing really ever seemed to hurt!

I achieved my black belt a year a and a half ago. At that point I also started teaching. As I do in the Porsche world I always share my knowledge. It is not mine to keep. So I spend every night either being a student or teach or both! Stress is held into until I walk through the doors of our school and it is always better by the time I get home. In my life I have been so involved in the Martial Arts my Wife is now a brown belt, my oldest son Jett is training for his black belt and should test in Oct. Quinn our youngest is a high blue belt. Granted he is 5 and has the attention span of a nat he is aggressive like his dad and doesn’t mind mixing it up a bit. I believe he has a good future in the martial arts. For me, well I have enjoyed being a blackbelt for the last year and a half but it is time for me to test for my second degree. Several years older I feel I am faster, stronger and better than I was and know that the accomplishments I have made since I walked through that door have been monumental. As a side note I also train in Hap Ki Do which is a Korean Grappling and you will have to ask Karl but he trains me in Gracie Style Jujitsu. I refuse to get old!

Stay tuned as the Kaspar Klan heads for its third year at the Midwest TKD championships!   

Here is a copy of a video during a demo.  Click me 

This Video is of our 5 year old durning his school demo. Click the first link. Quinn hammer fist break

Jett Break

5 Brick Break