For the first time in the history of Sun Peaks’ Northern Taekwondo Academy, three students have achieved their black belts.
Paige Franklin, Alivia Mercer and Landon Oevermann received their belts after rigorous testing on Jan. 17. After years of training they were tested on every level preceding and including the black belt. Testing included theory, cardio, fitness, technique and board breaking.
Chief instructor Ryan Oevermann, who tested for and received his fourth degree black belt alongside his students, said he was proud of their accomplishments.
“They were all nervous before but I always teach them that’s a good thing,” Oevermann said. “There’s a sense of achievement and accomplishment when they receive their black belt and see how much they’ve progressed and persevered.”
He described the tests as challenging and said they are designed to push students to exhaustion before testing their self-defence to ensure they are responsible and controlled.
“When you do movements over and over your body remembers them when you get nervous. Then when your mind goes blank your body will still perform the way you want
The day was made even more special for Oevermann because his son was one of the three who received their belt. His daughter will complete testing for her own next year. He and his wife have trained together for years and share the martial art as a family.
“It’s how we met and now we can pass it onto our kids,” he said. “We have three families who all train together.”
It was the first time since the club was founded by Oevermann in 2012 that young students received black belts. He estimated only one in 10,000 students achieve that level.
The accomplishment is recognized around the world by the International Taekwondo Federation.
“It comes with great responsibility,” Oevermann said. “Black belts rise to the occasion, learning how to be responsible and be in a system of respect.”
Now that the first group has reached the level, Oevermann expects a few students to reach it every year as their training continues.
Anyone can join the club throughout the year and no experience is required.