Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jacquelyn's Journey - Discover the Champion Within

“Hello what’s your name?  I’m Miss Anderson.  How old are you?  Have you ever done taekwondo before?  No?  Well we’re going to have some FUN today!”

That is what I say to new students when they walk onto the mat for the first time when I’m the trainee there because I was once a new student too.  I have taken taekwondo since I was 5 years old.  My favorite quote is Yoda saying “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”  This is a story about my 8 year long journey. 

I love taekwondo but it wasn’t always so easy.  My mom tells me I have Sensory Integrated Dysfunction (she helped me name it).  I didn’t learn to walk or talk until I was older than when other kids do and I wasn’t able to eat normal food until I was 5.  I went to a lot of doctors and had therapists help me learn stuff like other kids.  It was hard because there were a lot of things I couldn’t do.  But there were a lot of things I could.  My mom told me she took me to the Ft. Worth stock show and all I wanted to do was stand and watch kids lassoing a fake bull. For 4 hours all I did was stand there and watch.  I even ate lunch there just not talking and just watching the other kids lassoing the bull.  All I wanted to do was watch the other kids try it over and over again until I felt ready to try.  And at 4 hours I walked up there and lassoed the bull on my very first try and I kept doing it over and over perfect because I had been practicing it in my mind watching the other kids mistakes.  My mom says that’s how I work.  It’s okay because everyone is different.             

On Thursday, May 24, 2007 my best friend Willie and I graduated from preschool and our moms signed us up for a trial taekwondo class for a summer activity for us to do together.  It was just supposed to be a few weeks of something fun to do.  But I really liked it and wanted to keep going.  It’s where I met 4 year old Jimmy Hollon who was always getting in trouble, forgetting his belt and getting sent out of class for acting up.  It’s really neat to see him grow up with me in the years.  I was the only girl in the Little Dragons class but I really didn’t mind.  There were lots of teenage girl junior trainees who I really liked and looked up to a lot.  I really liked their red collars.  I wasn’t very good at taekwondo and I fell over a lot and was very clumsy.  But I wanted to keep at it.  I really liked the forms because they were in patterns and I like when things are in order.  I liked trying to walk on the ‘railroad tracks’ (walking the tape on the floor). In August I got to do my very first taekwondo tournament (video of me when I was really little here:  After that I wanted to move to the juniors class because I felt I didn’t need to be in the little kid class anymore because I kept knocking over the small bags and it wasn’t much of a challenge.  So I got courage and asked all by myself if I could be in the juniors class and that I knew I could do it.  I loved it.  I started doing Ki-Bon everywhere I went.  At the store and at the library and when I started kindergarten I would do it every day at recess.  My very first belt test I met Master Strickland.  His voice was loud and he was a big giant scary man.  I was afraid to look at him at the testing.  I had just turned 6 years old didn’t know where to stand, how to line up and I really couldn’t do jumping jacks at all! (     

I tried to do soccer and softball but I wasn’t as good as the other girls and I didn’t get the ball a lot.  But I loved taekwondo because I could do it.  So I kept going and kept testing for belts.  I made some friends like Annie and Michelle Hollon.  I really liked Annie as she always picked me up and walked around with me.  I took class with Alex Fulco and Jordan Davenport and really liked them too.  And I was scared of the Cleveland girls because they were awesome and scary!  I remember Joe Woodard from Saturday belt testing’s at other schools.  I tried out in 2009 for the demo team and made it.  I loved it so much and got to do the Dallas national tournament (  I was the smallest, youngest and lowest rank.  But it really doesn’t matter how young you are as long as you try hard and want it so that you can do it.  And I got my black belt at Christmas and was so happy.  I used the Yoda quote in my black belt essay too! (

One time I got bullied at school.  I didn’t have very many friends outside taekwondo.  One kid who really didn’t like me pushed me hard off the monkey bars at recess and my scapular bone in my shoulder got broken.  I wasn’t able to do taekwondo for a while and I was sad.  Then when I was able to do taekwondo again I had my first no change and it was really hard and I cried.  That was when I met Drew Cain.  He was holding the yellow board when I couldn’t break it on my 3rd try.  I almost didn’t want to keep doing taekwondo.  But then I thought about it and thought it doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you just keep going.  Because of the bullying I had to change schools.  I did a demo for the talent show at school but I got made fun of and one boy said he was going to break my arm the way I broke the wood in my demo.  It was really hard but I never stopped loving taekwondo. It was where everyone was nice to me.  Everyone always cheered for me to do my best.  They are my family. I even got to be in a newspaper story about taekwondo and it made me feel good (  I got really sick for a while and got a virus in my hip and had to do physical therapy.  I couldn’t do taekwondo and couldn’t test for instructor for a while.  I had to quit gymnastics that I had just started because I wanted to learn to do taekwondo flips.  And when I was able to test for instructor I did not pass the first time I tried.  I was really sad but I just tried again and made it. 

Some of my favorite things about taekwondo are going to tournaments.  I got a 1st place medal one time when I was a brown belt and I have it up on my wall with all my 17 taekwondo belts I have earned in 8 years.  I really like belt testing’s but sometimes they are scary but I always felt good after.  I also love making up demos to music. When I was in the 6th grade last year at my new school the whole school talent show crowd cheered for me (  But my favorite part about taekwondo is being a trainee instructor and getting to help out with classes all the summers and during the week.  I really like helping smaller kids pass their belt tests.  I feel so proud of them.  When I got my 3rd degree belt I felt really good when everyone clapped for me.  But I try not to wait to hear the clapping at the end to be proud of myself.  I am proud of what I do everyday in class.  Everyone should be proud of what they accomplish.  I am getting ready for the November tournament and hopefully able to test for 3rd Decided in Orlando next September and my red/black junior certified instructor collar in 2 years from now.  At Strickland’s Taekwondo there are actually a lot of girls. The best part of being a girl in taekwondo is that girls can do the same thing as boys.  Anyone can do it. 

One day I want to own my own school.  Or I want to work for Drew when he takes over for Mr. Strickland.  I really like working with Drew.  He helps by aggravating me all the time and helps me to overcome all the mean comments in life and to be a better leader and he pushes me to be able to run my own class.  I also really like Mr. Vickroy.  I have known him for years and he is very patient with me and funny.  I like Mrs. Clements because she pushes me to be a better instructor and she likes Star Wars too.  I like Mr. Strickland very much and the trust he puts in me as his student and instructor.  I am good friends with Natalie Campbell who Drew and Mrs. Clements say is my partner in crime.  And little Maddox is so cute and helps keeps me on my toes to be better instructor.  Master Strickland and Drew and all the instructors call me Miss Anderson and I really like that a lot.  I try to go to class 6 days a week and teaching as many classes as my mom lets me to.  But if you see me outside of class you can call me Jackie.  Thank you for reading and for letting me write my journey.

Nithilan Maanidhii - Why I Want to Be a Black Belt and What Does it Mean to Me? 10/24/14

The Black Belt is the highest belt in Taekwondo. I want to be a black belt because it makes me feel proud of myself after all these years of trying my best for about 15 belts in Taekwondo. I will remember my memories from my white to red belts and they will be stored in my black belt. Whenever I put it on, I feel a sense of satisfaction that I made it through the long journey of Taekwondo and finally achieved something that only five percent of people that do Taekwondo achieve.
When Mr. Strickland first gave me the belt and certificate, and I shook everybody’s hands, I was very, very happy. I don’t remember being that happy in my life. All I could think of was, “Wow, I can’t believe it that I finally got what is most important to me in Taekwondo- receiving a black belt from my instructor and trying hard to get it.”
Even though it is “only” a probationary black belt, getting it was a huge milestone in my life that I won’t forget. I know I will try even harder to earn my recommended and decided black belts. Once I get my decided black belt, I will look back and remember the day I was handed my very own new probationary black belt.
Another reason I want to wear a black belt around my waist is because it makes me feel confident, like I can accept any challenge, can do anything, and do it very well. Kids at school sometimes brag about how they got their black belt, and I don’t blame them. If you got a black belt, you would want to brag about it. That’s another advantage of a black belt- having bragging rights.
I got my probationary black belt on October 22, two days before my birthday, October 24. I like to think of my black belt as a birthday gift from Mr. Strickland and everybody else that I earned for doing my best and working hard in class and at home.
My sister also practices taekwondo, and she just started a few weeks ago as a white belt. Since I am now a black belt and have gone through all the colored belt forms, I can teach her (what I remember of) the white belt form. That is another reason to be a black belt. You are looked up to by younger kids of lower ranks and sometimes even older kids of lower ranks look up to you. When you reach the level of decided black belt, you can become a trainee instructor, teach the kids their form and help them improve on it.
I understand why probationary black belt has a white stripe, why recommended black belt has a red stripe, and why decided black belt is full black. Probationary black belt has a white stripe to show that you are a black belt, but you are still the lowest rank of black belt. Recommended black belt has a red stripe down the middle to show you have come a long way to get this rank. Decided black belt is all black to show you are officially a black belt.
The reason I want to be a black belt most is that I feel like I can be faced with any challenge and overcome it, no matter what the circumstance or how hard it is. Being a black belt is a big commitment, and I want to honor that commitment as long as I can.

~Nithilan Maanidhii

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"I Finally Realized How you Do It" ~ By: Juanita Clements

Recently I had a consultant tell me “I finally realized how you do it”.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  She went on to tell me that she had started an exercise program that incorporated punches.  At first she was hesitant to hit anything.  Girls are taught not to hit.  Girls are taught to be nice and nurturing.

Once the consultant got over having to punch a bag, she had her moment of realization - “how I do it”.  In our daily interactions, we handle some highly stressful situations.  I never get the easy cases with the simple solutions.  My partner, the consultant, realized that it is my taekwondo background that keeps me focused and calm in the most stressful of situations. 

To put it mildly, martial arts has put me in some stressful situations: being pinned down by a big ugly guy; having to defend myself from a kneeling position; having to fight off two attackers.  I have been bruised from head to toe.  Yes it was hard, but after much training, it has positively impacted many aspects of my life.

From personal experience I can tell you that it is hard for me to set aside time for taekwondo.  I always put other peoples’ needs before my own.  But, this is the one thing in my life that I do just for me.  It is my time to clear my mind, release stress, and challenge myself.   Ladies, I encourage you to come try a taekwondo class or attend a clinic.  Step out of your comfort zone and attend the December 6th DAAB course.  It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding!

Juanita Clements

Friday, October 17, 2014

Crazy Hair Day - Halloween 10/30/14 (Closed Halloween Day 10/31/14)

David Dicken Jr Black Belt Essay 10/16/14

David Dicken Jr 

Why I Want to Be a Black Belt

Black Belt Essay
I want to be a BLACK BELT!! My name is David Dicken Jr and I am so happy that I have made it this far in Karate. In my essay I am going to tell you a few reasons why I want to be a Black Belt. I am also going to tell you what it means to me to be a Black Belt. I have been doing Karate at Strickland’s Tae Kwon Do for two and a half years.
            I want to be a Black Belt because I have earned all my belts through hard work and determination. I was having trouble earning my Senior Brown Belt and I could not break the boards but I kept trying and I practiced a lot. This testing will be my last time breaking plastic boards. I never gave up and now I am more confident in breaking my boards. I am ready for more hard work like breaking wood and more forms.
I have learned that Tae Kwon Do is not only a physical sport but also a mental sport. When I first started Tae Kwon Do I thought I was going to just get to fight. In the last few years all my instructors have taught me that Karate is not for fighting.  I have learned to use my brain and only use what I have learned for defending myself. I learned to help myself against bullying and how to use nun chucks. I went to a class to help me if someone ever tries to take me. Mr Strickland has taught me to focus on what I’m doing and to use my mind instead of my foot when I’m breaking boards.
            Becoming a Black Belt means that I have learned to beat many challenges. I have learned how difficult it is to memorize a lot of forms. Each form is harder than the one before it. It has also been a challenge for me to learn the different sparing combinations. Before Tae Kwon Do I thought punching and kicking was all you have to do in Karate. Now I know that there is a lot more to it than just kicking and punching. Some of the difficult kicking techniques are the butterfly kick, the jump spin side kick, and the 360 side kick. Some of the difficult hand techniques are the elbow strike, and the knife hand strike.   

I cannot wait to become a Black Belt. I have not quit since I started as a White Belt and now I’m a Sr Red Belt. Being in Tae Kwon Do is a part of my life now. I have become a hard worker. I have learned that Tae Kwon Do is not just about fighting kids. I have to use my brain to make good decisions.  I have to be respectful to everyone. I also know there are always new challenges in Karate. I am happy that I have succeeded this far and I cannot wait to see the new forms and kicks that my instructors still have to teach me. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Strickland's TKD Testing October 18, 2014

October 18, 2014 Testing

Strickland's Guest Instructor Clinic October 17th, 2014 Josh Harrison, Muay Thai

Mr. Josh Harrison - Muay Thai Clinic

October 17th, 2014

Learn Muay Thai Boxing. 

Taekwondo United Guest Instructor, 

Mr. Josh Harrison will also be performing 

a Demonstration for the 

School during Testing on Saturday

Taekwondo United - Tyler, Texas Regionals November 15, 2014

Tyler, Texas Regionals November 15, 2014

Josh Harrison Muay Thai Clinic & Demo 10/14/14

JOSH HARRISON Muay Thai Clinic & Demo 10/14/14

(for more information on Josh Harrison)

Clinic / Video Demo

More About Josh Harrison