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Martial arts mastery: Schlader earns his black belt

Posted: Friday, Dec 7th, 2012

Schlader (center) receives black belt certificates from Masters Dana (left) and Mary Ellen Vaillancourt. Next, Brenden Schlader peforms a side kick during one of his forms. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED

When someone takes a first glance at Brenden Schlader, they’d probably see a quiet, un-assuming 12-year-old who is a good brother, a good student, and a soccer player. 

Often soft-spoken and somewhat passive in nature, a first impression would not capture the total Schlader. 

Because he recently successfully took a multi-hour physical martial arts test for his first degree black belt in the Korean martial arts of Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo. 

This test included performing basic and advanced blocks, strikes, and kicks, falling techniques, long staff basics, a number of unarmed forms (called Hyungs and Poomse in Korean), board breaking and sparring against one and two opponents. He also was responsible for writing a short paper on a selected martial arts topic.

 Schlader began training in the very first youth martial arts class in the Vaillancourts Korean Martial Arts (VKMA) program offered at Nordby Center for Recreation in the summer of 2007. 

He has been training under the tutelage of Master Dana Vaillancourt (7th degree black belt) for the past five-and-a-half years,  or as Brenden notes, “I’ve been training since kindergarten.” 

To increase the intensity and level of his training for his black belt, Master Vaillancourt moved Schlader to the adult advanced class for the past year.

 In this day and age of immediate gratification, Master Vaillancourt is a stickler for people earning their ranks. 

“The color of your belt means nothing if you do not have the knowledge to go with it,” he said.

What makes Schlader’s accomplishment even more amazing is that he is the only one of his class to stick with the long and hard training to become the VKMA programs first youth black belt in Huron. 

That in itself speaks volumes of his perseverance to stick with what he started and to work hard to achieve his goals.

After his long black belt test, Schlader was awarded his VKMA first degree (junior) black belt in both Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo. 

He will also receive his 1st degree black belt in Tang Soo Do from Master Vaillancourts instructor, Grand Master Chung Il Kim, 9th degree. 

If Schlader chooses, he can also apply for his 1st poome (junior) Taekwondo black belt directly from the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters) in Seoul, South Korea.  Junior black belt ranks are typically given to those under 16 years of age.

 While some may not see it right away, according to his instructors, there is a lot more to this young man that meets the eye. 

Also recognize that martial arts’ training is not just about learning self-defense, but also learning about one’s self and training to be a stronger and better person. 

For the complete article see the 12-06-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 12-06-2012 paper.

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