2019 Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation
Northeast Regional Championships and
Dan Shim Sa
by Gary Starecheski
with assistance from Daniel
Goodyear, Dave, Ava and JD MacDonell,
Zechariah and Symmes Gardner,
Zell and Olly Donovan
Regional Tournament and Dan Shim Sa has become a
grand fall tradition showcasing Tang Soo Do
expertise, camaraderie, and spirit amidst a backdrop
of brilliant fall foliage. This was the second year
we convened at Henry Wilson Memorial School in
Farmington, NH which has proven to be a fantastic
venue. The energy was palpable as Masters and
competitors assembled after months of planning and
Following the judges
and timekeeper/scorekeeper meetings, competition
began at last. All morning the air was filled with
cheering, clapping, kihaps, and the crack of boards
breaking as black belts of all ages and ranks
demonstrated a high level of expertise and spirit.
Points were tallied and medals awarded in many close
International Master Duva called us to order for the
opening ceremonies. We were all sorely disappointed
that Grandmaster St James was unable to attend but
Senior International Master Klacko reminded us that
this was the first major event ever missed by the
The National Anthem is inspiring but the performance
by Ever Drewicz took it to a whole new level as her
fantastic voice expressed feeling that went right to
our hearts. The Five Codes and Seven Tenets of Tang
Soo Do were led by students Marvi Spahiu, Adam
Bedingfield and Maya Bedingfield as all in
attendance echoed their words with increasing volume
The morning had been filled with close competition
so there was much suspense as we awaited the
announcement of Grand Champion
Trophies. The winners were Mr. Sebastian Toledo of
Cambridge Tang Soo Do and Ms. Chance Drewicz of
Cambridge Tang Soo Do. We were then treated to an
intricate and entertaining demonstration by students
from Cambridge Tang Soo Do that raised the level of
excitement to a peak level as we moved into the
afternoon Gup competition. There was great
participation from around the Northeast, including a
large number of youths building their confidence
with the challenge of competition. Tournament
competition is about so much more than winning
medals but it can be hard to describe this deeper
aspect. Perhaps it is best to let the martial
artists speak for themselves.
"It was really fun
doing my form and showing my power, and I had a lot
of fun being with my classmates and friends"
"What I liked about the tournament was it was fun
and pushes me to do my hardest and I liked going
there meeting new people"
"I really like attending the tournament as its a fun
an exciting and challenging competing against other
students from other areas. While it is a competition
and everyone is trying hard I find the other
competitors to be very supportive and friendly. I
met some great people, learned a lot from watching
others and really had fun."
"My favorite part was breaking boards. I got a medal
for it! I also thought it was fun to see the high
black belts sparring."
"The tournament was fun! I didn't earn a medal but I
did my best."
"It was nerve wrecking and awesome at the same time!
I am happy because I did my first palm heel strike
"It was really powerful to see that we are part of a
larger martial arts community and what an impressive
community it is. I came away really inspired and my
son and I are recommitting ourselves to the goal of
making it to black belt and beyond."
It was time to relax and many students and Masters
gathered at Newick's Restaurant to tell and hear
stories about the days activities, make new friends,
and solidify old friendships. On Sunday Masters and
candidates assembled for the Dan Shim Sa. After the
written test it was time for more action and the
candidates brought a high level of energy and
technical proficiency to the floor. Some quotes from
candidates may help to explain the amazing event
that is Shim Sa.
“It was a 4 hour adrenaline rush, trying to maintain
the flow of physical and spiritual energy. Getting
to a level of being able to test for black belt is a
momentous occasion. A culmination of years of
practice and learning, but also a stepping stone to
more learning. It is an honor to be able to have
learned the skills necessary to get to this point. I
am only more energized to learn more as well as try
to teach the younger students."
“Even though I was a total ball of nerves the
entire time, I don't think there is ever a place
where you learn more than a belt test. I came out of
this weekend and all I wanted to do was practice
more because I was able to see all I that I could
learn in the future. I feel beyond lucky that I was
able to participate."
Best of Test Trophies were awarded to:
Helen Goodyear of Crouching Lion Tang Soo Do
Marc Nemeth of Crouching Lion Tang Soo Do and Mr
Nemeth also had the
highest score in the written test.