Nov 21, 2012
Blake Hanson, 16, successfully competed in the 7th UC Yongmudo Championships and the 1st UC Multi-Martial Arts Challenge at UC Berkeley on October 27.
“It was rad,” said Blake, who trains in the Mount Shasta Martial Arts Program. “Preparing for the competition was a lot of hard work, and I didn’t really know what to expect.”
Yongmudo, a style of hapkido also known as Korean Self-Defense, requires proficiency in multiple skills including kicks, strikes, throws, wrestling, and joint-locks.
After spending the previous two months preparing solely for the yongmudo competition, Blake was surprised to learn that he could also compete in several other martial arts like taekwondo, judo, karate, taiji, and wushu.
With encouragement from MSMAP head instructor, Chuck Buhs, Blake also entered the taekwondo and judo competitions. Competing against college students and other adults, Hanson won third place in both the judo and taekwondo competitions, and a first, second, and third place in the various yongmudo competitions 1-round, wrestling; 2-rounds, kicking/punching and wrestling; 4-rounds, kicking/punching, standing throws, submission wrestling, and “anything goes.”
“Blake’s method for success is very simple,” said Buhs. “He keeps training. Plus, he takes praise and criticism equally well enabling him to maintain his focus on important goals and make consistent progress, week after week, month after month.”
At the tournament, his parents were very impressed with the results. “We saw a tremendous amount of growth in Blake. His skills have obviously improved and he’s more confident,” said his father, Rob. “We’re really glad we made the trip.”
Blake began his yongmudo training two years ago and is now at an intermediate level (green belt) and was one of only three people to compete in at least three martial arts at the tournament.
“One of my instructors commented that Blake demonstrated much greater skill than his belt indicated,” added Buhs. “Blake’s humble demeanor is deceptive. His opponents don’t expect his kind of quiet competitiveness on the mat.”
Despite all the yelling and contact, an atmosphere of courtesy and respect was prevalent throughout the day, according to Buhs.
“I was surprised at how nice and welcoming everyone was including the competitors,” Blake said. “There were plenty of people there to help you learn. It was a challenge to work with people of a higher rank, but the black belts were all very helpful. After each competition, the judges as well as your opponents would share valuable information on techniques. I enjoyed the experience.”
“The obvious theme was a continued growth for the individual no matter the rank,” Blake’s mother Tracy, agreed. “The camaraderie was very apparent, and people treated Blake as if he were part of the group.”
Although not intending to compete, Buhs accepted last-minute invitations to participate in three yongmudo exhibition matches the receiving end of 2-on-1 and 3-on-1 submission wrestling matches; and, an all-out, action-packed 4-round full-contact match against a 5th degree black belt from San Francisco.
“Recovering from a recent illness, I only planned on coaching and cheering,” said Buhs. “But, when asked to participate, I couldn’t resist the rare challenge to go full-speed and full-power against someone with comparable skills. It was a fun, exciting match. I got over the lingering effects of illness quick!”
MSMAP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing dynamic and modern martial arts training for children, teens, and adults since 2001. More information can be found on their website at www.MtShastaMA.org, email (
), phone (530.859.2024), and on Facebook (MSMAP on Facebook).
Read more: Other articles about MSMAP’s successful competition experiences.
Go to: 2017 UC Open Taekwondo & Yongmudo Championships
Go to: 2016 UC Open Taekwondo & Yongmudo Championships
Go to: 2014 UC Open Taekwondo Championships
Go to: 2013 UC Open Taekwondo Championships
Go to: 2012 UC Yongmudo Championships
Go to: 2012 UC Open Taekwondo Championships
Go to: 2011 UC Yongmudo Championships
Go to: 2011 UC Open Taekwondo Championships
Go to: 2010 UC Open Taekwondo & Yongmudo Championships
Go to: 2009 UC Open Taekwondo Championships
Go to: UC Yongmudo Championships Information
Go to: Yongmudo Competition