Velocity athletes earn first degree black belts

SUBMITTED PHOTO Alexandra Maclean, Quinten Hir, Ashlyn Evans, and Austin Evans (Pictured L-R) all recently earned their first degree black belts.

A global pandemic hasn’t been able to slow the rapid growth of Velocity Taekwondo or its students as the month of May has brought good news on multiple fronts.

Four members of Velocity Taekwondo recently earned their first degree black belts after years of honing their skills.

Alexandra Maclean, Quinten Hir, Ashlyn Evans, and Austin Evans all passed their promotion test to become black belts.

“To get to a black belt we always say it’s not the end, it the just the start of a different style of training,” said instructor Allen Graves. “On average it’s four or four-and-a-half years of training to get to a first degree black belt, so it’s a really big time commitment to get to that level. Then it’s a lot of physical training, a lot of mental stamina to get there. The last six months of training before that it is even more intense. It’s a big commitment for them.”

The testing process was three-and-a-half hours in front of a panel of black belts earlier this month.

“For this particular test we had two fifth degree masters, so you’re looking at a lifetime of experience for those guys, myself as a third degree, and our two other instructors that are second degrees. So you have five black belts sitting watching your every move. It’s mentally tough and you have to be really focused,” explained Graves.

“There’s a physical portion to it, so you’re going to a do a lot of fundamentals, a lot of kicking, a lot of stuff that’s really going to tire your body out. Then near the end of the testing phase you start to get asked to do stuff that is going to tax you mentally where your body is tired but your brain has to take over and keep your body under control and allow it to do the things that we’re asking you to do. It’s a full system test that you will be able to function under pressure.”

The four new black belts will have plenty of work before they can test again for another promotion.

“Now you have one complete year of training before you are eligible to test for your second degree black belt,” said Graves, who added that another two years of training would follow before they could test for their third degree black belt.

Graves said that the new black belts were told that this promotion was not the end of their journey, but rather just the beginning.

“Now you have to focus your mind from learning taekwondo, just basically learning kicking and all that stuff, now you have to not only learn, but also understand. You have to understand why you’re kicking in a certain fashion, why you’re doing certain moves, why instructors are asking you to do specific drills. So you have to understand the methods of what you’re doing so that you can instruct others.”

Velocity Taekwondo has also relocated to a new studio at 143 8th North West less than a year after opening their doors in August of 2020.

“The old space was about 1,500 square feet and we had about a little over 1,000 square feet of training area. The demand of students we’ve had coming through our doors looking to train has been incredible. It’s a non-stop list of people wanting to come. With current restrictions we basically couldn’t put any more people in that building. We were maxed out on class space, we were maxed out on time, so we started looking for a new space.”

They found a new space in February and began renovating on weekends. They were ready to open the new space on May 1, one week before their black belt testing weekend.

“Now we’re over 3,000 square feet. We’ve got two completely separate training areas so we accommodate the people that we need in the fashion that we want to. One of our training spaces is an Olympic sized ring, so it’s huge. We don’t have to worry about people bumping into each other, they can definitely maintain their social distancing.”

The studio has also invested in some new technology to stay motivated during Covid restrictions with the addition of the electronic 20/20 Armor gear as well as the KPNP electronic scoring system.