Vol. 15, No. 22   Thursday, October 2, 1997


Young Martial Arts practitioners earn another ribbon

Brandon Duggan, Thor Innocenti, and Kyle Johanson
Brandon Duggan, Thor Innocenti, and Kyle Johanson, left to right, recently passed the fourth section of their martial arts program at Chung Moo Doe on Maple Street in Danvers.

Martial arts is a process where the participants strive to develop both the body and the mind into one component. There are various levels that have to be attained, as well as many hours of hard work, before they fully become an expert in this ancient ritual.

The sport attracts people of all ages and sizes. In Danvers at the Chung Moo Doe facility on Maple Street, instructor Anthony Pasquale, a third degree black belt, recently witnessed Kyle Johanson and Brandon Duggan, both of Danvers, and Thor Innocnti of Hamilton pass the fourth section. There are two more sections to complete, before they move on to the juniors at which time they will train for the junior first degree black belt for three years starting at age ten.

These youngsters have been diligently practicing for the last year to reach this plateau, which earned them a black and red ribbon around the collar of their uniform, as well as another portion of their belt painted black.

The training that goes into passing the test entails a number of various forms of martial arts like self defense. They also must learn Tae Kwon Do, which encompasses the upper and lower body, better known as the kick and punch way.

They also learn basic udo, or ju jitsu, which is a method to avoid injury during a fall. Basic kung fu, a series of fluid movements, is taught to them. Aikido/Hapkido is a grab defense that they pick up throughout the year long session. But one of the foremost details they are taught is respect, a caring of one self, as well as others, in order to develop good manners. They learn all this to pass the fourth section.

Discipline required

There is a tremendous amount of discipline involved in these tests. Johanson, taking part in one of his routines, a T-position, has to remain still for 70 seconds while keeping the left foot in front of the right leg bending both of them at the same time. He reverses the process, this time putting the right foot in front of the left leg, for another 70 seconds in a bent position.

Johanson is a second grade student at the Great Oak School. He has been participating in martial arts for the last two years. "My mom signed me up, but I also wanted to do it, because it sounded fun" said Kyle. "I know it (martial arts) made me a beter student, plus it also taught me to have more respect for others."

"It's fun, and it gives me exercise. My mom signed me up, when the kids at school were picking on me. Since then, the sessions have given more confidence, and taught me respect for others."
Brandon Duggan, a second grade student at the Great Oak School
"I like the instructorís dodge ball game, where he fires the ball at us, and we have to be quick enough to not let it (the ball) hit us," added the eight year old. "The game is not only fun, but we develop speed and coordination from it, as well."

Instructor Anthony Pasquale wants to keep it fun for the kids, while teaching them at the same time.

But sometimes itís not all fun and games, but simply mind over matter. Kyle explained that one of the routines during the test was to get into a horse position -- legs spread out and bent simultaneously -- for 50 seconds. "Itís very painful," added Kyle.

But Kyle is one of many participants who donít want to give up the martial arts once they are in it. "Iím never going to quit martial arts, but I also want to play soccer and football next year," admitted Johanson.

Brandon Duggan
Take your best shot - Brandon Duggan, a second grader at the Great Oak School, demonstrates one of his martial arts routines. He recently passed the fourth section, earning another black section on his belt.
Brandon Duggan is also a second grade student at the Great Oak School, who has been training in the martial arts for the last two years.

"Itís fun, and it gives me exercise," said Brandon about the activity that is part of his life three times a week. "My mom signed me up, when the kids at school were picking on me. Since then, the sessions have given more confidence, and taught me respect for others."

Brandon has an older brother, Shane, who passed the fifth section that involves the mental aspect of the package. He received the same black and red ribbon award, but this time itís a stripe on the sleeves of the uniform. Shane gave up martial arts for football this year, but Brandon canít see himself following that route. He is committed to it.

Thor Innocenti is a third grader at the Cutler School in Hamilton. His father, Eric, works in the sleep lab at the Hunt Center. He stumbled upon the Danvers Chung Moo Doe franchise after investigating at least 20 other martial arts schools around the North Shore. He found out Pasquale offers the most, and he not only joined a short time later, but he also brought his son, Thor, along two years ago. Thorís mom, Peggy, will be signing up in a few weeks, as well. His four year old sister, Kara, also takes part in the program.

"My dad got me involved with it first. But I also wanted to do it, because I wanted to learn karate," said Thor. "My favorite routine is the T-kick. Martial arts has helped me with my coordination and discipline."

His mother, Peggy, remarked, "Most (martial arts) schools are into fighting and self defense, but Anthony (Pasquale) also teaches the abstract, which emphasizes respect, confidence, and discipline of even doing the things you donít want to do," but are necessary to paint the total picture.

Hard work ahead

Johanson, Duggan, and Innocenti are zeroing in on their goal of a black belt. But like Anthony Pasquale mentioned there is still plenty of hard work, and at least three more years, before they reach that lofty plateau. But, as they pass each section, they become more accomplished in their new found love of martial arts.

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