The path of a Black Belt

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  • 1

    (Courtesy Photo) Aspyn and Ashlynn Allen. with their awards.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Ashlynn Allen was awarded 1st Degree Black Belt.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Mr. Lavala and Ashlynn Allen.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Aspyn Allen was awarded 1st Degree Black Belt.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Mr. Lavala and Aspyn Allen.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Aspyn and Ashlynn Allen. with their awards.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Ashlynn Allen was awarded 1st Degree Black Belt.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Mr. Lavala and Ashlynn Allen.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Aspyn Allen was awarded 1st Degree Black Belt.

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    (Courtesy Photo) Mr. Lavala and Aspyn Allen.

BONNERS FERRY — When a person enters a martial arts studio for the first time, regardless of the brand or style of the art, it causes an array of emotions.

Of course, there is the obvious excitement of doing something you have never done before. Quite possibly, when involving an older student, there is nervousness wondering if you are going to be able to do everything you have seen in the movies. And for adults, there is a fear of not being able to keep up with the younger students. No matter the emotion, once the student settles into the studio, there comes an acceptance of ALL of the valid emotions that go along with the training.

At Boundary Martial Arts we teach a specialized version of Taekwondo. Our motto is: “Where Yelling and Kicking IS Family Fun!” Along with the most recognized parts of the art, punching and kicking, there are other aspects that each student encounters and must become proficient in when climbing the mountain to their Black Belt. There are four weapons they must learn. The sword, the Bo Staff, the Escrima Stick and finally the single nunchaku (numchuck). Each three-month segment focuses on a different weapon and varying skills to equip the student for success. Besides learning weapons and nine different forms or styles of movement, the student breaks boards, is taken to their limit in physical fitness and engages other students and instructors in sparring.

At BMA the sparring is usually one of two styles. First there is point sparring where you fight and score a point for striking the proper zone. Next, there is free sparring which more resembles a typical fight only with control and a close watch by instructors to head off any out of control emotions.

This month we are proud to announce that two of our students have attained their Black Belt. Aspyn Allen and her sister, Ashlynn Allen, climbed up through the ranks, fought with skill and determination, and finally proved they have the advanced skill needed to pass their individual Black Belt test of nearly three hours each.

I once asked them, as well as many other students, this question: “How many average people get a Black Belt?” After pondering the question, they would hazard a guess but the answer to the question is “NONE.”

To get a Black Belt in any discipline in the martial art world, you must be above average. The time, money, blood, sweat and tears that it takes to arrive at your Black Belt test is phenomenal. There are times when you may fail a test and need to repeat an entire segment; there are times when you may get hurt during sparring; there are times when life seems to intrude in such a way that you don’t have the time you need to practice and therefore are unprepared. In short, no average person will reach this advanced level of training and ability.

Welcome to the world of a Black Belt — Aspyn Allen and Ashlynn Allen!

Here are two excerpts from the essays written by each young lady.

Aspyn: “To be honest, I never envisioned being a student of any sort of martial arts. My head and heart had always been with dancing, tumbling, and competitive cheerleading. I was used to the glam, glitter and the glory. I remember my mom spending hours on my hair and makeup, making sure I felt and looked beautiful. I was treated like a cheerleading princess. But, at the end of the day, I wasn’t learning any of the truly esteemed values a sport should be teaching a young athlete.

Taekwondo, without a doubt, has enhanced my life forever. Taekwondo has pushed my limits and helped me persevere through times in my life when I’ve wanted to give up. It has heightened my sense of awareness and taught me to be aware of my surroundings. I feel as if Taekwondo has helped me realize, on a deeper level, to have more respect and compassion for people in my daily life. I find it humorous, Taekwondo is a pretty brutal sport and isn’t easy mentally or physically, yet it has made me more of a compassionate, understanding, caring person.”

Ashlynn: “As I stop and reflect on my life as a Taekwondo student for the past 3-plus years, I’m speechless. The growth and confidence I have gained are unmeasurable. I never expected martial arts to become such a passion for me. When I decided to explore the possibility of this art, I never set out to become a Black Belt. It just seemed so far away and almost impossible to achieve. However, as I began to learn and endure, my outlook changed.

Going through the process of being a White Belt, I knew this was something I desired to proceed with. Then, when I climbed up the ranks, it simply became tougher for me. This was especially true then testing to receive my Blue Belt. I didn’t pass but understood why. I physically knew all the moves but my mind psyched me out and caused me to fail.

Taekwondo isn’t just about the physicality, it’s also mentally challenging. It doesn’t matter if you are physically fit, you need to be mentally prepared as well. They are a combo that go hand-in-hand. The time I didn’t pass, I was so discouraged, dispirited, and disappointed. Most of the time that is a turning point when people give up. But I found extreme perseverance, determination, and endurance and came back and received my Blue Belt. This was a huge turning point for my achievements in Taekwondo. I realized that I could overcome the mental obstacles and I learned to not be my own worst enemy. This lesson can be applied to the rest of my life as I am growing into the young lady I am and will become.”

Both Aspyn and Ashlynn have been Junior Instructors at Boundary Martial Arts for the past year leading up to their individual Black Belt testing success. They have performed at the top of our requirements and are two young women who know both who they are and that they are headed for success in anything they do.

For anyone curious about the journey to Black Belt we would encourage you to come and take a free class and see if it is something that interests you. Will it be challenging? Yes! But what in this life worth having doesn’t involve a good challenge?

Our Spring Segment has begun on March 11 and we always are accepting new students. Give Mr. Lavala a call if you have any questions. His number is 208-304-6717 or you can go online for information at BoundaryMA.com.

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