Local youth from Cochrane’s Trinity Taekwon-Do academy watched as two of their instructors were presented with new black belts, a significant milestone for both instructors and the club as a whole.
“We had an eight-person testing on the weekend, instructors from around Alberta,” said Cam Macdonald, founder and head instructor with Trinity. With Colin Fetaz, his long-time student and now instructor, the pair earned their new black belts in a grueling two-day exam conducted, luckily, at their home base.
“It was fantastic, we were put through the ringer for everything from theory to board-breaking to patterns, sparring, some self-defense, so it was really an all-encompassing test.”
Macdonald earned his sixth-degree belt, a whole life in the making.
“Taekwon-Do is designed to be a lifetime of learning,” Macdonald explained.
“I love this martial art, it means the world to me, and I’m going to do it as long as I can and along the way if it means sixth degree, or seventh degree, then awesome.”
His student, Fetaz, earned his fourth-degree belt. In Taekwon-Do, that’s the point where one progresses from an assistant to an official instructor.
“When I think of the achievement that Mr. Fetaz has made, being the first full Trinity member to make it to his fourth degree, I think that is truly remarkable,” he told his students, audibly choked up.
“Mr. Fetaz is absolutely a testament of dedication and loyalty, he’s been by my side for so many years. I started this club in 2004, and he’s here whenever I’m not, giving it his all and really going the extra mile for you guys and for me. It’s an honour and a privilege to present him with this.”
Pulling double-duty at Trinity’s rented space on the scenic plateau home to the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary, Macdonald and Fetaz would finish their classes with the younger students of the program before spending hours on their own preparations in the weeks leading up to the test.
“We’ve always been training, but we took that training to the next level,” said Macdonald.
“We did a few things on our test that we actually choreographed and prepared together, so that was a big reason why we needed to train together.”
Trinity Taekwon-Do, with programs for both children and adults, generally operates during the academic year.
“We accept new students all the time throughout the school year, if anybody’s interested in trying to see if Taekwon-Do is something for them,” said Macdonald.