2019 Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation
Southwest Regional Championships & Dan Shim Sa

By BrieAnne Stout

The 2019 Southwest Region held its 7th Annual Championships and Dan Shim Sa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on October 18-19, 2019. Thunderbird Martial Arts, owned by Sabom Nim Thomas J. Witterholt, graciously hosted the event. We were pleased with the new event venue, The Field House. The spacious, newly built facility with grand views of the Sandia Mountains handily accommodated our region's steadily growing numbers.

Many participants safely traveled long distances to Albuquerque. Kwan Jang Nim John St. James traveled from Atlanta, Georgia. We also welcomed Sunim Sabom Nim Mark Farquharson (Colorado Tang Soo Do) from Aurora, Colorado; Sunim Sabom Nim Peter Estrada (San Antonio Karate Academy) from San Antonio, Texas; and Sabom Nim Paul Dulaney (Cornerstone Martial Arts) from Arlington, Texas.

The weekend began on Friday evening with the Dan Shim Sa. A strong group of 9 testers and 18 reviewers rose above adversity and self-doubt to shine that night. The test was conducted by Mr. Rick Crouse (3rd Dan, Thunderbird Martial Arts), Mr. Paul Lambros Lopez (3rd Dan, Thunderbird Martial Arts), Dr. Alan Arrington (3rd Dan, Colorado Tang Soo Do), and Ms. Meghan Farquharson (3rd Dan, Colorado Tang Soo Do). Congratulations to Mr. Ben Roe (1st Dan, Abilene Martial Arts), who won Best of Test honors in the adult division, and Miss Avery Witterholt (Junior 1st Dan, Thunderbird Martial Arts), Best of Test winner for the children.

On Saturday morning, 72 participants competed in Championships. In a special presentation, Kwan Jang Nim promoted Master Peter Estrada to Sunim Sabom Nim. Sabom Nim Paul Dulaney was knighted a Master in the Federation. It was truly inspiring to watch the promotion ceremony for these two Masters.  Masters Estrada and Dulaney have dedicated immeasurable hours to training; both of their own minds, bodies, spirits & emotions, and of countless students in this region who have benefitted from their perseverance. Congratulations to Mr. Rick Crouse (Thunderbird Martial Arts), the Men's Grand Champion, and Mrs. Amanda Crouse (Thunderbird Martial Arts), the Women's Grand Champion. For the first time, our region also held Demo Team exhibitions from three participating schools, which was especially exciting and fun for the spectators and regional schools to watch. 

Following competition, Kwan Jang Nim St. James instructed a group lesson in advanced bong technique outside under a gorgeous New Mexico sky with enchanting mountain views. Next, each of the Masters led breakout groups in specialized areas of martial arts study.  Sunday morning, black belts and candidates were invited to a workout with Sunim Sabom Nim Farquharson and Sunim Sabom Nim Estrada. The attendees found these sessions highly valuable, and they thank the Masters for their time and efforts.

The weekend was a tremendous success. We offer a special thanks for Kyosa Desirae Cuevas (1st Dan, Thunderbird Martial Arts) for coordinating the event's many logistics, both big and small, and leading our team of volunteers. Thunderbird Martial Arts also extends their thanks to our parent and family volunteers who were involved in helping make this event a success. Tang Soo!!




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