April 5

This month in history: April


Black Belt Magazine featured an article by Sensei Joe Chianakas on the “10 Keys to Combat.” Also, in the same issue, his Next Generation column discussed approaching weapons training with caution.

10 Keys to Combat in Black Belt Magazine, by Joe Chianakas

April 5 – Metamora Martial Arts hosted our first annual open tournament. We had more than 100 competitors representing around a dozen schools.

Metamora Martial Arts belts belts in 2008

Metamora Martial Arts black belts in April 2008 (L-R): Mr. Aaron Ruder, Mr. Justin Knobeloch, Ms. Amanda Dixon, Mr. David Hawkey, Mr. Thomas Deters, Mr. Adam Ulbricht, Ms. Jessica Duffy, Mr. Joe Chianakas, Mr. Adam Bockler, Mr. Neil Kirchoefer


April 4 – We hosted our second annual open tournament with about as many people as the first outing.

2009 Metamora Martial Arts Open Tournament


On April 14, Deshi Adam Bockler placed 1st in the men’s black belt forms division and 3rd place in the men’s black belt weapons division at Morrow’s tournament in Moline. Joshu Adair Rodriguez and Jake Potter also competed in forms and sparring.

Metamora Martial Arts at Morrow's 2012

Pictured L-R: Jake Potter, Mr. Adam Bockler, MMA alum Joe Maubach, Mr. Adair Rodriguez

March 20

A look at the Auvenshines’ 12th tournament

Caitlan Rohman placed 1st in women’s 16-34 colored belt forms.

Sempai Adair Rodriguez placed 1st in men’s 16-34 colored belt forms and weapons.

I placed 2nd in men’s 16-34 black belt forms.

Now, onto the details…

I’ve always enjoyed visiting the Auvenshines’ tournament. We first went down in 2007 with a big group of at least a dozen students held in a different venue. Our number of competitors has dwindled since then, but I still think we are an enthusiastic crew who enjoys competing and represents our school well.

The gymnasium and Lincoln Land Community College was a sea of white as mainly tae kwon do practitioners packed the space kicking pads, showing off their flexibility and letting out the occasional shout.

One of the main differences between this tournament and other we usually attend is grappling that takes place in the center ring. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much of a chance to watch the grapplers do their thing as I was competing and then judging.

The Auvenshines do their best to make for small divisions. The largest ones that I saw had seven in them. Personally, I may have split them into divisions of three and four. That way, two sets of 1st, 2nd and 3rd could be handed out instead of just one. But I think everybody went home with a medal or a trophy, and the last four tied for fourth place.

I judged for a division of what looked like ages 6-9, which is what I think I heard somebody say. A girl won her breaking division, and I’ve never seen a child so ecstatic. The grin she wore from ear to ear made it look like she’d just won the Olympic gold medal and the lottery at the same exact instant.

In my opinion, the concessions could have been run better by having more food available. I was turned down when I asked for a piece of cheese pizza and then a soft pretzel, but somebody wound up making me a pretzel anyway. They just seemed disorganized. Though that fell on the LLCC volleyball players who were in charge, not the Auvenshines themselves.

It was nice seeing Mr. Steve Aldus, who contributed to us an article on why he teaches, there with his wife Kim. Both were very friendly the few times I saw them away from the ring in which they were judging.

As I stood on the edges of the black belt meeting, I also received a friendly nudge from Mr. Kevin Roberts, who wrote a great piece for us on commercial belt factories. Mr. Roberts brought his wife, Jessie, their daughter and nine other competitors who did very well. I judged one of his white belts, who received 1st place in both his forms and breaking divisions, and it’s evident – in my opinion – from that student that Mr. Roberts is a quality instructor.

We also received lots of information for tournaments coming up in the area that I’ll put together in another post later this week, but I wanted to post one here real quick…

2011 USA Tae Kwon Do Championships
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Kalamazoo, MI
Registration starts at $60.00.

I realize this tournament is far away. Ms. Harrison noted that as she handed the flyer to me, but said she had promised to hand them out. For her effort in pushing this tournament, I wanted to post it here as well. If you are interested, please leave a comment or e-mail me for more information.

March 14

Own the ring: Tips for a martial arts competition

You’ve spent the last week fine-tuning your form by lowering your stance that extra half an inch, shouting louder on that kiai than you ever imagined and you’re more than prepared to step in front of your judges.

But once you step inside your ring to compete, something happens. You get nervous. You speak quieter than usual. You’re not the level of performer you had envisioned.

I’ve seen martial arts students lose all their self-confidence as soon as they bow before the judges panel. And I’ve even seen a poor girl cry as she announced her name.

Instead of being timid, own the ring.

You only get a few minutes at the most to make your impression. Don’t spend it acting like you’d rather be somewhere else. You paid the money to travel to and register for the event, you put in the time to practice and your friends and family are cheering you on.

Take over whatever ring you’re in. Perform like you did at home with nobody watching. You have been given an opportunity where no one else can compete in that space but you. Seize that opportunity and run with it – that ring is yours.

I’m not saying to be a jerk about it. You aren’t above your other competitors. Always be respectful to them and your judges. But from the time you bow in to the ring to the time you bow out of it, the spotlight is on you.

Walk with a purpose.

Bow cleanly.

Announce your name the loudest and with the most confidence.

Perform your kata like it’s the most important thing on your mind instead of wondering whether the event’s concessions will feature pizza or hot dogs.

Draw everybody’s eyes to you and make an impression.

If you really like something somebody else did that got them a high score, steal it. Just know sure you can do it if you haven’t tried it before.

The martial arts instill confidence. Just because you’re going to a martial arts tournament doesn’t mean it has to be a scary venture. Take the time to meet other people and network, asking about their arts and politely asking why they do something that you have been taught to do differently.

So make the most of your efforts to get to the competition day by making yourself the star for that pair of minutes where all the eyes are on you.

Own the ring.

January 7

8th Annual Auvenshine’s Taekwondo Martial Arts Tournament – 1/27/07

Auburn Jr. High School

Auburn, Ill.

Stephen Arnold

1st place Forms
2nd place Weapons

Brock Blessman

1st place Forms
3rd place Sparring
4th place Weapons

Clay Blum

1st place Forms
2nd place Grappling
3rd place Sparring
Clay was forced to forfeit the match due to injury.

Adam Bockler

Competed, but did not place, in Forms

Daisy Breitbarth

1st place Forms
1st place Grappling
1st place Sparring
1st place Weapons

Joe Chianakas

1st place Forms
Adult Forms Grand Champion

Jim Craig

2nd place Forms
1st place Weapons

Mark Craig

1st place Forms
1st place Sparring
Jim and Mark competed in the same Forms division.

Carly Crabtree

1st place Forms
1st place Sparring

Roger Crow

1st place Forms
1st place Sparring

Jake Folger

4th place Forms
Jake also competed in Grappling.

Meaghan Gove

4th place Forms
3rd place Sparring

Tyler Prunty

1st place Forms
3rd place Weapons

Cliff Rummel

1st place Grappling
2nd place Sparring

Brandon Sassaman

2nd place Forms
2nd place Grappling
2nd place Sparring

Alex Schertz

1st place Forms
1st place Weapons
Alex was also in Tyler and Brock’s Weapons division.

Courtney Yeast

1st place Forms
Courtney and Meaghan were in the same Forms division.