Kids Move Up After Martial Arts Exam

Mar 28, 2012

In a packed house of participants and spectators, the Mount Shasta Martial Arts Program held its Winter Taekwondo Promotion Exam on March 21. With 27 participants from Mt. Shasta, Dunsmuir, Weed, and McCloud, it was the largest group to ever take the exam.

While participants demonstrated a variety of kicks, blocks, and strikes, instructors were particularly interested in how the participants could apply their skills in forms (prearranged movements), board breaking, and sparring.

“Correct movements and proper technique are very important to ensure healthy bodies,” said head instructor Chuck Buhs. “But, the essence of martial arts is defense — physical, mental, and emotional. We emphasize that using proper techniques effectively in the exam is critical for developing a confident demeanor to face other challenges well.”


Challenges Galore!

And, there were plenty of challenges. Nervousness before, and growing confidence during, the exam was something parents noticed in abundance.

Alisa and Jeff Scholberg shared that their two boys, Logan, 10, and Connor, 9, were a little worried about what would be asked of them — “sort of that fear of the unknown” — but both boys were confident enough in their training.

“The sparring is cool, a little scary and funny at the same time,” said Alisa. “We enjoy it, as our boys are always wrestling and pounding on each other at home and this gives them that outlet in a controlled setting. To see them go against higher belt levels and not back down was impressive.”

And, the boys weren’t the only ones empowered by their skills. The girls were equally ready.

Sparring against another person is perhaps the biggest challenge for Elina Saryon, 14, according to her mother, Ailita.

Group Action
Big Group, Big Crowd

“Elina is a very gentle being, so sparring is not the easiest activity since it requires a certain amount of aggressiveness,” said Ailita. “But, taekwondo has helped her expand her mature qualities, giving her the focus and confidence to spar with anyone.”

“The exam was fun,” shared Elina, 14. “I was nervous at the start, but then it quickly passed.”

Brian Witherell also enjoyed seeing what his daughter Brynn, 11, could do.

“Watching Brynn spar was great, seeing what she has learned in a short time, and watching her discipline and concentration was impressive,” he said. “Since starting taekwondo [at the MSE/Sisson After-School Activity Program, Fall 2011], I’ve noticed an increased ability to focus on a task and also becoming more self-confident.”


Beyond the Physical

Buhs shares that the physical skills are the obvious results of training, but they are a stepping-stone to other, meaningful qualities.

“My instructor says, ‘Self-confidence leads to self-respect and self-respect leads to harmony,’” Buhs said. “Ultimately, we’d like the physical training to be a contributing factor to young people developing the confidence to use sound judgment with their family, schoolmates, teachers, friends, and enemies, for that matter — essentially learning to play well with others — and just one more step towards a healthy community.”

Ailita appreciates the positive social interactions for her younger son, Emmanuel, 10.

“He is such a fun guy to watch,” said Ailita. “His form has improved and I love to see him interact with the other boys in such a positive environment. To see him there at taekwondo, confident and comfortable — far more than in any other activities he has been a part of — he acts as if he feels at home there. It is wonderful for us to see. Fantastic!”

“To see the way the boys have grown in the 3 short months we’ve been coming is amazing,” added Alisa.


 More Information

MSMAP, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and offers a variety of dynamic, invigorating, and modern martial arts training for children, teens, and adults six days each week. More information can be found on their website at, email ( ), phone ( 530.859.2024 ), and on Facebook (MSMAP on Facebook).

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