Martial Arts is about so much more than punching & kicking. It’s the most effective path to all-round personal development.
I’m sure if you asked any parent who’d enrolled their children in a martial arts class what they were hoping to gain from their membership it’s pretty unlikely they’d say they wanted them to learn to fight. It’s all about the many other benefits, including focus, self-discipline, respect for them self and for others, confidence, assertiveness and so much more.
Here’s a great example of two young lads who’ve been with us for a few years now. Jack and Thomas and are now approaching their black belt examination next month. When they joined us they were both pretty quiet kids who’d barely say ‘boo’ to a goose, and yet this week they stood up in front of their whole school to give a presentation about their martial arts. There were probably 150 people in the room so that’s a pretty nerve-wracking thing for anyone to do, but they absolutely rocked it and got a fantastic response from both students and teachers alike..
Given the number of adults who’d tell you their biggest fear is public speaking, you can imagine how proud we are to see the confidence these boys have developed through their training at the Black Belt Academy!
A lovely picture and your words above are very true. The boys have learnt so many skills in the lead up to their black belt all of which they will take forward into their school life and beyond. Although the journey so far has been tough we are so glad we met Richard Olpin at a fair in Dursley and signed Tom up all those years ago!
Jo Munyard

Here’s a little article in the Gloucestershire Gazette today about our three latest junior black belt promotions, plus Master Olpin’s promotion to 6th Dan and his “Instructor of the Year” award from last xmas (old news!).

Black Belt Promotions and a National Award for Richard Olpin

Master Olpin presented with 6th Degree Black Belt

Master Olpin, presented with 6th Degree Black Belt and GIMA Instructor of the Year

Last weekend, a group of Ilyokwan students travelled up to Nottingham for the Guild of Independant Martial Arts (GIMA) conference weekend.

The weekend proved to be a double celebration as Master Olpin was presented with two awards: GIMA Instructor of the Year 2013, and a promotion to 6th Degree Black Belt!

A personal message from Master Olpin..

I’d like to take a moment to express my gratitude and say a very special personal thank-you to everyone involved in both these nominations and to those of you who’d conspired to provide testimonials etc in support of them..

I am especially grateful to Mr Hirst and to Mr Davison who provided the nominations, and to the students who attended the event. It meant a lot to me that you were there to share such a memorable evening with me.

After 30 years in the martial arts one tends to stop worrying about the number of stripes on a belt etc. As an instructor the real rewards are earned in the progress and support of your students. It means a great deal to me to know that my students appreciate what I do, that my peers and fellow instructors had such nice things to say, and that they felt I was deserving of both the instructor of the year award, and the promotion.

I’m truly humbled to receive both awards, and inspired to raise my game even further to continue to earn the respect that you’ve so graciously shown me.

Thank you all, and Kaizen!

Eleanor Davison and Robbie Hirst Black belt Promotion

Eleanor Davison and Robbie Hirst promoted to 1st Degree Cadet Black Belts

Two local martial arts enthusiasts are celebrating their promotion to the coveted rank of Black Belt.

Stewart Davison and Shirley Williamson, Promoted to Second Degree

Shirley Williamson from Cam and Stewart Davison from Wotton Under Edge are both members of the Ilyokwan Black Belt Academy which is based at Cam Everlands School, where they train with their instructor Richard Olpin in the Korean art of Taekwondo. Master Olpin said: “Over the years I have been privileged to work with some excellent students, to date we’ve now had 25 black belt promotions in Cam and have five more juniors testing in September this year. Their promotion is based on much more than just one physical exam. They are assessed on many criteria for several months leading up to the final examination. During this time we are looking to see them develop the kind of personal skills and leadership ability that befits someone in a position of respect. They are expected to set an excellent example to others at all times and in this I have to say I am extremely proud of both Mrs Williamson and Mr Davison as they have really raised the bar this time.

If you’re a keen reader you may just recognise Shirley as for many years now she has been the manager of our local libraries in Dursley, Wotton and Berkeley. Having now achieved her black belt she is currently enjoying a well-earned holiday in Japan to celebrate her achievement.  Master Olpin said: “Part of the black belt exam is a fitness test and we were absolutely blown away by her performance, putting many of the younger members to shame and inspiring the other black belts to get in the gym to catch her up!”

Similarly, Mr Davison has proven that there’s never any excuse of ‘I don’t have time for exercise’. Stewart has a very high profile and time-consuming job as a manager in the IT industry which involves many long hours and a lot of travel, yet he still manages to fit in his training around work and family life. More than that – he doesn’t just ‘make do’, he really makes the effort to lead by example and provides a tremendous amount of support and encouragement to his fellow students along the way too.

Master Olpin said, “Shirley and Stewart have really demonstrated what it takes to be a Black Belt. It’s not just about punching and kicking, it’s about holding yourself to the highest standards and demonstrating the type of character that others can aspire to, whatever you do, both inside and outside the martial arts.  In this case they have both set an outstanding example to others and I’m honoured that I get to train with them. I’m really very proud of them both.