October 19, 2005
An almost irresistible aroma of fresh-cooked foods circulated around the stage set up at the Hood River Expo Center Saturday afternoon. The smell of roasted corn, then teriyaki chicken, then elephant ears drifted across the noses of spectators, seated in front of the stage for a demonstration smack dab in the middle of lunch time.
Despite the obvious distractions, nine young students from Northwest Taekwon-Do put on a seamless demonstration at the Harvest Fest, for an audience of parents and thousands of passersby.
Nine students, from Northwest Taekwon-Do’s junior intermediate and junior advanced classes (6-12 years old), demonstrated several blocks, strikes and kicks, as well as fighting forms (Hyung), free-sparing and breaking. Participating students were Jose Ortiz, Chris Frazier, Bryce Donald, Nathan Olson, Rose See, Monique Lara, Julian Rogers, Sean Ostregard and Alexis Tibke.
Under the care and command of Master Gary Muma and instructor Susan Tibke, the students demonstrated skills they have learned in their studies of the art of Karate.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better performance from the students,” said Muma. “They did a great job and none of them got nervous, even though, for most of them, it was their first performance.”
The students, ranging in level from yellow to brown belt, are on their quest towards becoming black belts. Students must study Taekwon-Do for at least three years to become eligible test for the first-degree black belt. Muma, who has been an instructor in Hood River for 30 years, is a 7th Dan black belt. In 1991 he received the honor the Master title.
Although the demonstration looked like light-hearted fun, as it was, the art has deep-seeded philosophical concepts that go hand in hand with the physical study of Karate.
“Mind. Body. Spirit. That’s what we develop,” said Muma. “All three of those together, to get over fears, take things in stride and keep moving forward.”
Muma takes on a new class of students only once a year at Northwest Taekwon-Do. Another Junior class won’t start until next September. The beginning adult class, however, is still accepting students 13 and older.