Martial arts students mark achievements

Students at Evolution Martial Arts reach new black belt degrees.

  • Nov. 30, 2015 5:00 a.m.
Left to right: Alec Earp-Haggard

Left to right: Alec Earp-Haggard

Wednesday the 25th of November marked a very important date in the lives of four students at Evolution Martial Arts on 7th Ave South in Cranbrook.

A culmination of years of Traditional Tae Kwon-Do training came to a crossroads in its journey to see Jennifer-Leigh Wachon, Rene Kowalchuk, and Alec Earp-Haggard not only reach their goal of 2nd degree Black Belt, but I had the privilege as their instructor and examiner to watch them own the experience.

This was a transition only toppled by watching the look on Daniel (San) McGifford’s face as he reached that very special moment of achieving his 1st Degree Black Belt—because nothing really in the Martial Arts World can compare to that feeling of joy as you reach out and grasp your very first Black Belt.

The students, who are all also instructors at the club are taught that holding a Black Belt in the true spirit of Martial Arts, doesn’t mean you’re invincible, or better than anyone else, but it does shape their bodies, minds and souls into a deeper understanding of everything, and over time, belief in themselves to strive to overcome whatever life tries to throw at them.

I was amazed at how each student had grown in confidence and ability since I started teaching them many years ago and even more amazed at how they had brought together many of the junior grade students in the club to perform amazing stunts while being knocked, kicked and thrown around during each self defence routine.

They all participated with enthusiasm and with the happiest of hearts to bring some awesome drama and several comical interventions to the ‘Dojang’ (training hall) while keeping everyone safe from injury.

Sparring is always exciting and during a Black Belt testing it is always lifted to higher level with the day being no exception. As chief instructor, I am not interested in how one person can inflict injury on another, so the students are taught from the top down that it is not important to be the toughest or best, it is only important to help each other grow in skills, confidence and fighting ability.

That way, everyone grows together, and by utilising a spirit of taking care of each co-operation and taking care of each other, injury is kept to a minimum, and long term training can be achieved for everyone, for as long as they like.

After all, there are no limits, except the ones we impose on ourselves!

I am Jennifer’s father as well as her instructor so I was filled with pride to see my youngest daughter’s performance and it also brought back memories of her and her oldest sister Joanne getting their first degrees and even before that, her older sister Cayleigh-Marie testing for second and third degree.

Jenny started at age five, and also gave up early on for many years, so it was wonderful to see her do well and get back into it in her late teens. I remember when Rene started with the Cranbrook club joining with his daughter Rhiannon just to get her interested in something, and here he is five years later inspiring Rhiannon and the others in the club to keep on going and achieve their goals.

To see Alec get his 2nd degree Black Belt is also a pleasure as he was one of the very first students to step inside the doors of our Dojang in Cranbrook with 100% attendance over the first three years, week in and week out.

So having spent almost a year out of training due to illness it was amazing to see him back with even more maturity and confidence, and a skill level to match.

As for Dan getting his first Black Belt, being a father of five children who all train with us, he just inspired them to always try their hardest and do their best. It was a pleasure to see the transition from colour Belt to Black Belt and the joy from the achievement in his eyes.

Excellent job everyone!

Simon Wachon 6th Dan Master – Tae Kwon-Do


Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Most Read