First Time, World-Wide Achievement
EUGENE, March 14, 2016 – On Saturday, March 19th at 10am, three generations of the Moore family will be testing for their 3rd degree black belt in TaeKwonDo at U.S. TaeKwonDo College in Eugene, Oregon. While the school offers testing every two months to lower belt students, the test this Saturday is unique because three generations will be testing for 3rd degree. This has not happened at this level anywhere else in the world.
Bonnie Moore, 73, is a retired pharmacist and started training at 64 years old. She shared that she didn’t know what TaeKwonDo was. “I thought it was all about fighting. I didn’t know anything about it!” It turned out to be a lot of fun and a great workout. It didn’t even feel like exercise. “For me, being my age, it has bade such a difference in my life. I have friends who are my age and I am so much more physically fit and flexible.” She adds that, while not religious, it’s more than exercise. “It’s mental and spiritual. When doing the PoomSae (forms), you get into a zone and everything falls away.”
Martial arts weren’t something that her son, Michael Moore, 46, expected to be doing. “I spent years and years in computers so I didn’t have any idea of physical fitness.” After nine years, “now my body is much more of a tool that I can use — which activates me,” says Michael Moore, 46, who is now also a runner and retired from his executive position and owns his own company.
His daughter, Lauren Moore, 15, is a student at Elmira High School and enjoys the leadership opportunities she gets from being an advanced black belt. She especially enjoys teaching special needs kids. “I enjoy spending time with them.” Michael says that he wanted Lauren to gain more confidence when they enrolled her at 6 years old, but it’s been a real bonding opportunity. Bonnie says, “I just want to emphasize how great it is for families to participate together. No baby-sitters needed. Kids can come to any class.”
Of course, there are also moments when one is tempted to quit, or to place limits on oneself. Bonnie did not expect to be where she is today. In fact, she almost didn’t receive her first black belt. “There were times just before my black belt when I didn’t want to take the test, but Michael said ‘I’m not prepared to accept that.’ So I couldn’t let my family down and I couldn’t let Master Lee down.” Lauren also acknowledges that doing this with her family has been important, “I don’t know if I could’ve done it if I was by myself.” Michael adds about U.S. TaeKwonDo College, “it’s a unique school that is really supportive of everyone. It’s a diverse TKD family and everyone fits in here. Much more than other types of training I’ve looked at.”
The Moore’s haven’t only been kicking and punching while training at U.S. TaeKwonDo College. They’ve also participated as members of the school’s traditional demonstration team at events all over the county, and traveled with the school to South Korea where they experienced local culture and trained in traditional DoJangs. When they went to Kukkiwon, the headquarters of the World TaeKwonDo Federation, black belt tests were being conducted. Michael was most impressed by the correlation with Kukkiwon and his training at U.S. TaeKwonDo College. “It was fascinating to realize that our training at U.S. TaeKwonDo College is the same: same commands in Korean, same testing procedures. It made me feel very connected to the world TaeKwonDo community. We feel so lucky to be training with Great Grand Master Lee because there are so few masters in the world at his level.” Great Grand Master Lee is a 9th degree black belt, the highest level achievable.
Odds are that only 1 in 12 people who begin training in TaeKwonDo manage to earn their 1st degree black belt. And of those, few go on to earn higher belts. Part of the reason for this drop-off is the change in pace. While testing through the colored belts (white, yellow, green, blue, brown and red), you can test every two months if you are attending classes regularly. However, once a student achieves their black belt the gears shift into more leadership and teaching roles, and they do not test again for two years. This change in pace and focus, and also the feeling of “I got my black belt!” deflates some students, driving many of them go on to other pursuits. It takes a lot of determination to continue. In fact, once must practice The Five tenants of TaeKwonDo to succeed in the long run: courage, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and an indomitable spirit. Since TaeKwonDo is a lifetime pursuit it is common for students of every level to take a break, thinking they’ve quit, only to return again after a break ranging from of a couple of months to many years.
It’s been three years since the Moore family has received their second degree black belt, the required training period between second and third degree, and they’ve completed two qualification tests over the last several months. After much preparation and training, on Saturday they will face their third degree black belt test and demonstrate advanced forms (PoomSae), sparring, self-defense, advanced sparring techniques, kicking techniques, and will also be required to break multiple boards. There are several other students testing for advanced black belts on Saturday, including Tim Quinlan, who is testing for his 4th degree black belt, Jack Riley, who is testing for his 3rd degree, Rochiemar Carson, who is testing for his 2nd degree, and the Liao family, Lingya Liao (mom), Elisa Liao (daughter), and Albert Liao (son), who are testing for their 2nd degree black belt. There are also several Cho Don Bo (2nd degree red belt) who are testing for their 1st degree black belts.
Please come to the test on Saturday or reach out to our Press Contact to coordinate an interview with the Moore family at a different time.
- The Moore family started training in on January 17, 2007
- The results of their test will be known the following week and their new belts awarded at a ceremony on May 7, 2016
- 1st degree black belt students must wait two years before they are eligible to test for their 2nd degree
- 2nd degree black belt students must wait three years before they are eligible to test for their 3rd degree
- As many as 30 million people train in taekwondo around the world
- The highest belt level awarded by the World TaeKwonDo Federation is 9th degree, which is held by Great Grand Master Lee, one of about 100 people in the world
- Of the several taekwondo associations (ITF, ATA, etc) the World TaeKwonDo Federation is the only Olympic-approved school by the Olympics — with 201 member countries.
About U.S. TaeKwonDo College
U.S. TaeKwonDo College is a member of the World TaeKwonDo Federation and was founded in 1987 by Great Grand Master Lee. It is located at 451 W 11th, Eugene, OR 97401. The school has been an integral part of Lane County through its fund-raising for local non-profits and training nearly 25,000 students in Lane County over the nearly 30 years Great Grand Master Lee has been teaching in the area.
About Great Grand Master Lee
Master Lee is a 9th degree black belt with the World TaeKwonDo Federation. He has over 50 years experience training, competing, demonstrating and teaching TaeKwonDo. He is an honorable U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, former Korean Army Head Instructor in hand-to-hand combat, a former Korean Secret Service Agent, former international sparring champion, former U.S. National and International TaeKwonDo Referee, and former U.S. Olympic TaeKwonDo trial judge and trainer.
Name: Jennifer James-Long
Photo Credit: Jennifer James-Long