Two New Alliance Jr Blackbelts

Please join us in congratulating Andrew Burger and Tristian Glass for achieving the rank of 1st Poom.

Mr Tristian has been training at Alliance since 2013, and Mr Andrew has been training since 2014; after over three years of training each, they have undertaken the exam for their jr blackbelt.  Mr Andrew is looking forward to being a freshman next year, while Mr Tristian is looking forward to middle school.

Mr Andrew completed his exam for first degree jr blackbelt on June 17th, 2018; Mr Tristian completed his unfinished requirements on the evening of August 13th, 2018.  Blackbelt testing is demanding, requiring the candidates to be accomplished in empty-hand technique and requiring the candidates to be able to perform under pressure.  The exam took about two hours, wherein the candidates displayed nine patterns and one hundred empty hand techniques, displayed additional self defense techniques and action sequences, and performed nearly twenty breaking and candle techniques.

Testing for blackbelt ranks is a privilege and an honor.  It requires years of practice and dedication, and comes only after a student has accepted and done well with added responsibility, and has the recommendation of their instructors and Masters.

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Alliance Summer Camp 2018

The second Alliance summer camp was a success!  With a crew of eleven, Alliance sported four adult blackbelt “counselors” and seven “campers,” a cozy turn out for our second Alliance summer camp.  The camp attendees spent two nights and two days on the shores of Brush Lake, where they learned about camping, trained martial arts, and cultivated fellowship.

Master Devon Waldron and Ms Tammy Fairbanks are both veteran campers.  Master Waldron is also an Eagle Scout and Ms Fairbanks works for Federal Fish and Wildlife; both were happy to teach the crew some basic camp skills, getting everyone to feel comfortable enjoying the outdoors.

Training itself consisted of working a few hand-picked fighting techniques on pads, getting some sparring experience, and training the dan bong weapon for coordination, timing and hand speed.

The crew also got the chance to do some team building games like “The Island” and “Human Knot,” and enjoyed free time swimming in the lake and campfire time trying to solve critical thinking puzzles.

With a successful event and good impression left with our Brush Lake hosts, Alliance may work to reprise the camp next year, to build more skills, camaraderie and memories.

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Detroit Lakes 2018

A medium sized crew of thirteen competitors from Alliance Taekwondo made the trip out to Detroit Lakes the first weekend of June to compete in the Detroit Lakes Invitational Tournament.  Young adult blackbelts Madison and Mason Rud headed up the team, with newest Alliance jr blackbelts Alex Hamilton and Justin LaFavor leading the youth team.  Altogether, they claimed twenty-five top three placements and four fourth place honorable mentions.  In addition to that, Mr Alex Hamilton took home the Jr Grand Championship trophy, and Ms Madison and Mr Mason fought alongside Mr Bradi Leshovsky to claim the first place trophy in team sparring.

One of the two Alliance junior blackbelt competitors placed in forms; Mr Alex Hamilton earned first place with Koryo, which would send him to the overall blackbelt forms championship to compete with all ages of blackbelts for a grand championship.  In adult blackbelt forms, in a large division run with very unusual scoring and placement rules, Mr Mason Rud eked out a third place finish.

In the youth underbelt forms divisions, Alliance saw competitive performances across the board.  Andrew Burger competed in one of the older advanced divisions and was awarded a fourth place honorable mention. At one age group younger, Mr Tristian Glass claimed third, with Ms Tatum Spadgenske taking fourth.  In a separate division, Ms Kaitlyn Retzer took third as well.  Younger still, Mr Kenyon Meissel took first place and in a separate division Mr Clark Schumacher took third.  Ms Reese Spadgenske also took third place.  In an intermediate division, Mr Kristofer Huck placed second.

In a handful of large breaking divisions, the Alliance competitors had some fun.  All in separate advanced underbelt divisions, Mr Andrew Burger secured first place, Mr Reese Spadgenske claimed second place, Ms Kaitlyn Retzer earned third place and Mr Tristian Glass finished in fourth.  At the intermediate level, Mr Kristofer Huck took home first place.  At the jr blackbelt level, Mr Alex Hamilton won first place with training brother Mr Justin LaFavor taking third in a separate division.  At the adult blackbelt level, Mr Mason Rud claimed third place with a creative and powerful routine.

In a handful of large weapons divisions, Ms Madison Rud and Mr Alex Hamilton both earned hardware for their efforts.  In the adult blackbelt division, Ms Madison’s performance of Shaolin Quan was strong and earned her a fourth place finish.  In the jr blackbelt division, Hamilton performed with his Ii Chul Bong set for the first time and took third.

Kicking off the sparring divisions was the blackbelt team fighting division.  Alliance blackbelts Ms Madison Rud and Mr Mason Rud teamed up with Greenquist Academy headquarters blackbelt Mr Bradi Leshovsky to compete against five other teams of three for the team fighting championship trophy.  After after three brackets of rough, high-energy matches, the young trio triumphed to claim the championship.

In intermediate sparring, Mr Kristofer Huck denied all comers and claimed first place.  In the advanced divisions, Mr Kenyon Meissel and Mr Clark Schumacher battled through separate sides of a bracket to meet in the first place match, with Mr Clark taking first this time and Mr Kenyon placing second.  Ms Kaitlyn Retzer fought in a very rough division with a high number of uncalled gam-jeom (penalties), but came through with a second place finish.  Mr Tanner LaFavor fought with focus and won second place in his division.  Ms Tatum Spadgenske battled frustrating matches and claimed third.  In a competitive division of older experienced red belts, training brother Mr Andrew Burger and Mr Tristian Glass battled through opposite sides of a bracket to engage for first; when the dust cleared, Mr Andrew took the top spot with Mr Tristian earned the number two spot right behind him.  In a younger advanced division, Ms Reese Spadgenske knifed through all of her opposition to claim first place as well.

In the jr blackbelt divisions, Mr Alex Hamilton and Mr Justin LaFavor both made it to the first place match in their respective divisions, where they both fought skilled competitors from the Detroit Lakes juniors team, both of whom have placed at the national level.  Mr Alex Hamilton fought a fast-paced match against Ms Madeleine Volesky, who won a narrow victory in overtime consigning Mr Alex to second place.  Mr Justin LaFavor battled Mr Davin Abraham in two continuous rounds, outscoring him to take first place.

After all was said and done at the end of the day, Mr Alex Hamilton accrued enough cumulative points to win the Jr Grand Championship trophy, the ultimate prize for successful competition across all categories.  Congratulations, Mr Alex!

Alliance would like to thank Master Lucas Holzhueter for hosting the tournament and providing a solid environment for competition where Alliance students experienced both team and personal growth.  We would also like to congratulate the entire team on all the hard work, and thank the parents, instructors and coaches who have supported them.  As always, our gratitude goes out to Grandmaster Eric Greenquist for his many years of dedication and instruction, and Great Grandmaster Moo Young Yun for his tireless efforts in the promotion of martial arts.

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Aberdeen 2018

Alliance Taekwondo would like to commend the seven students that put in the extra training, travel and competition time to participate in the Aberdeen Invitational Greenquist Association event.  This small team took home a total of twenty awards, quite an accomplishment!

In forms, Mr Mason Rud took second place in the adult blackbelt 1st Dan division.  In the jr blackbelt divisions, Mr Alex Hamilton took second and Mr Braden Fritel took third.  At the advanced level, Ms Kaitlyn Retzer took second place and in a separate division Mr Clark Schumacher claimed first.  In intermediate, Mr Kristofer Huck earned second.

In weapons, Mr Alex took first with Mr Braden finishing in third place in the same division.

In breaking, Mr Alex also took first place in the jr blackbelt divions.  In the advanced divisions, Mr Clark secured a second place finish.  At the intermediate level, Mr Kristofer took third.

In sparring, Mr Kristofer made quick work of his opposition and took first.  In separate advanced divisions, Mr Clark and Ms Kaitlyn also won their way to first place victories.  In the jr blackbelt rings, Mr Alex started working some high-flying and flashy kicks on his way to claim first place.  In an older division, Mr Braden Fritel and Mr Justin LaFavor clashed for first; in an upset, the less experienced LaFavor came out on top to take first, relegating Fritel to a second place finish.  At the adult blackbelt level, Mr Mason Rud cleaved through three opponents, decisively winning first place.

In addition to the regular competition, these students were also able to compete in pushup competition; both Mr Braden Fritel and Mr Kristofer Huck came away with the pushup contest champion award in their respective age group.

Please join us in extending congratulations to these young martial artists; the Alliance competitors are all looking forward to the Detroit Lakes competition in June!

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Greenquist Invitational 2018

Alliance Taekwondo fielded an impactful team for the 2018 Greenquist Championship Invitational.  Alliance boasted six adult blackbelt competitors – Tammy Fairbanks, Kyle Sanford, Austin Hunt, Tanner Olson and Madison and Mason Rud.  The juniors team boasted a set of five jr blackbelts including junior captain Braden Fritel, Shauna Fairbanks, Logan King, and newcomers to the blackbelt scene Alex Hamilton and Justin Lafavor.  They were joined by twelve underbelt competitors; Andrew Burger, Kaitlyn Retzer, Tanner Lafavor, Tatum and Reese Spadgenske, Kenyon Meissel, Clark Schumacher, Kristofer Huck, Braxton Standaert, Jaden Silveria and Lily and Ian Combs all represented Alliance well.

Alliance took home a total of fifty-three awards, including twenty-one first place finishes, thirteen second place finishes, seven third place finishes, six fourth place honorable mention finishes and six additional non-standard contest wins.

Two thirds of the 2018 Greenquist Invitational crew with medals and trophies. Unfortunately, nine competitors – over a third of our team – missed out on the picture.

The Masters’ forms division was up first, with Master Devon Waldron taking second performing the 5th degree pattern, Sipjin, for the first time.  In the blackbelt forms divisions, Ms Tammy Fairbanks took fourth with Taebek. In separate men and women divisions, twins Madison and Mason Rud both took third.  In three separate junior blackbelt divisions, Mr Braden Fritel, Mr Logan King and Mr Alex Hamilton all took first place, with Ms Shauna Fairbanks bringing home third in one of those divisions as well.

In underbelt forms, twelve juniors competed.  In the advanced divisions, Ms Kaitlyn Retzer took second, Ms Tatum Spadgenske took third and Mr Kenyon Meissel took first, all in separate divisions.  In the intermediate divisions, Mr Clark Schumacher took first, Ms Reese Spadgenske took third, Mr Kristofer Huck took second and Mr Braxton Standaert took first, all in separate divisions.  At the beginner level, Mr Jaden Silveria took first place and Mr Ian Combs also took first, in separate divisions.

In the weapons divisions, twins Madison and Mason Rud took third and fourth at the adult blackbelt level in the same division respectively.  Three Alliance junior blackbelts competed with weapons, showcasing the standard Hapkido Bo Staff set; Mr Braden Fritel and Mr Logan King took first and second respectively in the older division, while Mr Alex Hamilton took first place in the younger division.

All juniors breaking and underbelt breaking was up next.  In two separate junior blackbelt divisions Mr Logan King took second and Mr Alex Hamilton took fourth.  In the advanced divisions, Mr Kenyon Meissel took second.  At the intermediate level, Ms Reese Spadgenske and Mr Kristofer Huck took first in separate divisions.  At the beginner level, Mr Jaden Silveria took fourth.

In a fun set of non-standard events unique to the Greenquist Invitational, competitors participated in belt tying competitions and jump rope competitions.  Each division was large and only one award was presented to the top competitor in each category.  In belt tying, Mr Braxton Standaert won the award for his age group.  In jump rope, Alliance dominated the field with five winners; Mr Alex Hamilton was called up first as winner in his age group, followed by Mr Logan King, Mr Braden Fritel, Mr Tanner Olson and Mr Austin Hunt.

Alliance boasted five winners in the jump-rope events.

In the advanced underbelt sparring divisions, Mr Andrew Burger showed accuracy and control to fight his way to a second place finish.  In a separate division, Ms Tatum Spadgenske fought her way to a second place finish as well.  In two other younger divisions, Ms Kaitlyn Retzer also battled her way to a second place finish, and Mr Kenyon Meissel earned a first place finish after several intense bouts.

Mr Clark tags his opponent.

In four separate young intermediate divisions, Mr Clark Schumacher showed improvement and tenacity and took second.  Ms Reese Spagenske also showed improvement, with her high-mobility fighting earning her a first place finish.  Mr Kirstofer Huck and Mr Braxton Standaert also showed good focus and determination; both of them won first place.

In the jr blackbelt divisions, Alliance fighters did some heavy lifting.  Mr Braden Fritel knifed through his opposition without conceding a single point to claim first place.  In a long and tall division, Mr Justin Lafavor showed the results of dedicated work, taking points and launching opponents from the ring to take first.  Mr Alex Hamilton was fast and furious, keeping the initiative in his hands and sniping targets to claim first in his division.  In the under eighteen blackbelt fighting divisions, Mr Tanner Olson showcased some of his best combat action to date and claimed the third place spot.

Adult blackbelt breaking was the second to last event of the day, and consisted of two rings of black belts setting up breaking sequences of up to ten boards each.  In the women’s division, Ms Madison Rud claimed a fourth place honorable mention in a division of eight.  In the men’s division, Mr Mason Rud claimed third with a creative arrangement, and Mr Kyle Sanford took home first with power and commitment.

A separate breaking event for Masters, in which there are no limits (within reason) to the number of boards, bricks or stations, is also unique to the Greenquist Invitational.  This year Master Bobby Cisco edged out Master Devon Waldron – winner the prior two years – to claim the championship.  Master Bobby broke eleven boards and three bricks across seven stations to claim the Masters’ Breaking Champion award.

Alliance fielded twins Madison and Mason Rud in the women’s and men’s adult blackbelt fighting competitions.  As young, newer blackbelts they showed up well sparring against older, more experienced competition.  In the women’s division, Ms Madison Rud took second place; in the larger men’s division, Mr Mason Rud also took second place.

Alliance would like to thank the Greenquist Academy for hosting the tournament and providing a wonderful environment for competition and both team and personal growth. We would also like to congratulate the entire team on all the hard work, and thank the parents, instructors and coaches who have supported them. As always, our gratitude goes out to Grandmaster Eric Greenquist for his many years of dedication and instruction, and Great Grandmaster Moo Young Yun for his tireless efforts in the promotion of Korean martial arts.

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Alliance Master 5th Dan Promotion

On Thursday, April 5th Alliance program director Master Devon Waldron undertook the exam for 5th Dan.  According Alliance a rare honor – and privilege – Grandmaster Eric Greenquist traveled to Bismarck in order to hold a public exam in the Alliance studio. Given that most exams at the blackbelt level and above are generally closed exams, this honor speaks well not just of Master Devon as an exam candidate but also of Alliance as a martial arts school.

To achieve the rank of 5th Dan, the candidate must master new degrees of precision and must have shown that in the time since achieving the rank of 4th Dan master that they have been a worthy custodian of the martial arts.  Master degrees in martial arts are analogous with academic master degrees in that the holder of such a degree is considered to be highly knowledgeable and proficient in the subject area, and has put a lot of time and effort into achieving the degree.  In the case of a Kukkiwon 5th Dan master degree, it represents an additional five or more years of teaching and training beyond the time already put into achieving the 4th Dan master degree.  Master Devon Waldron has been training in martial arts for over twenty-seven years, and achieved his 4th Dan master degree in 2012.

The exam was conducted at the Alliance Taekwondo studio in Bismarck, ND on April 5th, at 6:30 PM.  The exam was administered by 8th degree Grandmaster Eric Greenquist, president of the United States Chang Moo Kwan Taekwondo Union, as chief examiner.  6th degree Master Linda Catalano and 6th degree Master Ken Sorenson were present as sitting examiners.  5th degree Master Mike Scharnowske directed the exam, with 4th degree Master Charles Smith assisting.  The exam included multiple patterns, hand to hand fighting techniques, board and brick breaking, candle techniques, sword techniques and academic material.

Alliance would like to extend a very special thank you to Grandmaster Eric Greenquist for holding the open exam in the Alliance gym, and thank the guest masters and blackbelts who made the trip to help and to witness.  Another special thanks goes out to the students and parents who put in extra time helping the Masters and instructors clean and prepare the studio for Grandmaster Eric’s visit.

Master Devon Waldron completed his exam successfully and has been promoted to Kukkiwon 5th Dan.  Please join us in congratulating Master Devon Waldron!  필승

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Three New Alliance Jr Blackbelts

Please join us in congratulating Alex Hamilton, Justin LaFavor and Emily Frieze for achieving the rank of 1st Poom.

All three students have been training for over three years.  Mr Alex has been training at Alliance since 2014, Mr Justin started in 2013 and Ms Emily first started training in 2012; after years of training, they have all undertaken the exam for their jr blackbelt.  Mr Alex is looking forward to middle school next year, Mr Justin will be heading into his freshman year and Ms Emily is just finishing her freshman year.

Mr Alex completed his exam for first degree jr blackbelt on January 13th, 2018.  Mr Justin completed his incomplete breaking technique shortly thereafter, completing his exam on the evening of January 25th, 2018.  Ms Emily completed her final outstanding technique to earn her promotion on the evening of February 22nd.

Blackbelt testing is demanding, requiring the candidates to be accomplished in empty-hand technique and requiring the candidates to be able to perform under pressure.  The exam took about two hours, wherein the candidates displayed nine patterns and one hundred empty hand techniques, displayed additional self defense techniques and action sequences, and performed nearly twenty breaking and candle techniques.

Testing for blackbelt ranks is a privilege and an honor; only 2% of people who start training in martial arts make it to blackbelt.  It requires years of practice and dedication, and comes only after a student has accepted and done well with added responsibility, and has the recommendation of their instructors and Masters.

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Roughrider Invitational 2017

Alliance Taekwondo attended the 2017 Roughrider Invitational Championship on October 21st.  Alliance fielded a team twenty-four competitors strong, including blackbelts Kyle Sanford, Austin Hunt, Tanner Olson and Madison and Mason Rud; the youth team was lead by junior blackbelts Braden Fritel, Eddie Lin and Logan King; underbelt competitors included Alex Hamilton, Justin and Tanner LaFavor, Tristian Glass, Andrew Burger, Kaitlyn Retzer, Amber and Casey McGrath, Tatum and Reese Spadgenske, Kenyon Meissel, Clark Schumacher, Dyllan Heidt, Hudson Tooke, Gavin Kutzer and Kristofer Huck.  The Alliance team claimed thirty-seven trophies in total, including ten first place wins, fourteen second place awards and thirteen third place finishes.

The 2017 Roughrider Crew with trophies.

In a rough day for Alliance blackbelt forms competitors, Madison Rud was the only adult to claim a top-three spot, bringing home a second place trophy in her division.  In the jr blackbelt division, Braden Fritel claimed third with a performance of Kumgang.

In underbelt forms, advanced competitors took home trophies in three separate divisions.  Alex Hamilton took first in his division with teammate Tristian Glass taking second.  In two separate divisions, Andrew Burger and Tatum Spadgenske both took third.  At the intermediate level, Mr Kenyon Meissel took first, Mr Clark Schumacher took second and newcomer Ms Dyllan Heidt also claimed a second place spot, all in separate divisions.  In beginner forms, Mr Kristofer Huck won first place in his first tournament appearance; in a separate division newcomer Casey McGrath took second and Mr Gavin Kutzer took third.

In underbelt weapons, Mr Eddie Lin’s sturdy performance of the Hapkido bo-staff set earned him third place in his division.

In breaking, junior underbelts Mr Alex Hamilton and Ms Tatum Spadgenske took home awards in two advanced divisions; Hamilton placed second, while in a separate division Spadgenske took third.  In separate intermediate divisions, Mr Kenyon Meissel and Ms Reese Spadgenske took home third place finishes.  In the beginner divisions, newcomers Mr Kristopher Huck and Mr Casey McGrath placed third in their respective divisions.

In the always competitive jr blackbelt divisions, Mr Braden Fritel showcased some explosive power and won second, while Mr Eddie Lin slammed his way to second in a separate division.  In the adult blackbelt divisions, blackbelts Mr Austin Hunt and Mr Mason Rud showed solid striking and youthful energy to claim first place and third place respectively.

In the sparring divisions, the Alliance underbelts faced some tenacious competition.  In the teen girls division, Ms Amber McGrath showed verve and fire and claimed first.  In an older advanced division, teammates Mr Andrew Burger and Mr Justin LaFavor battled through opposite legs of the same bracket to fight each other for first place.  In a close match that went into overtime, Burger ended up earning the final point to claim first, with teammate LaFavor taking a respectable second.  In a younger advanced division, Tristian Glass fought fast and smart and claimed first, with teammate Alex Hamilton taking third in the same division after three long, rough matches.  In the intermediate divisions, Ms Reese Spadgenske fought an exhausting series of four matches and won them all to claim first.  Mr Kenyon Meissel showed some of his best and most adaptable fighting yet and Mr Clark Schumacher battled hard all the way into double overtime in his last match; both took home second place trophies.  Ms Dyllan Heidt also battled her way to second place in her first competitive fighting appearance.  At the beginner level, Mr Kristofer Huck earned first place in his first sparring division, showing that the newest members of Alliance are carrying on our competitive reputation.

The junior blackbelt division was rough and aggressive as always; Alliance’s junior team co-captains battled hard.  Mr Braden Fritel gunned through his opponents with strategy and speed to secure first place, and Mr Eddie Lin’s performance earned him third place.

Blackbelt fighting was two rounds of two-minute continuous fighting and scoring per match.  In their first appearance as blackbelt fighters, twins Madison and Mason Rud did Alliance proud.  In the women’s divisions, Ms Madison Rud battled seasoned fighters and earned her way to the first place match, where she lost to Master Naomi Even-Aberle of Rapid City in a gritty finish and claimed the worthy second place spot.  In the over eighteen men’s divisions, Mr Mason Rud waded his way through his opponents to have a chance at first place; though close, Rud finished with a very respectable second place.  In the fighting highlight of the day, Mr Austin Hunt burned through his opponents to claim first place in an undeniably dominant performance.

Alliance would like to thank the Roughrider Academy and Grandmaster Ted Fitzsimmons for hosting the tournament and providing these opportunities. We would also like to congratulate the entire team on all the hard work, and thank the parents, instructors and coaches who have supported them. As always, our gratitude goes out to Grandmaster Eric Greenquist for his many years of dedication and instruction, and Great Grandmaster Moo Young Yun for his tireless efforts in the promotion of Korean martial arts.

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Alliance Taekwondo Splits Club

One year after putting together a “Splits Club” for students who had achieved a “split,” Alliance wanted to take some time and look at those students who have become members of the club.  Membership requires a student to have achieved at least one of the following full (meaning hips resting on the ground!) splits: a full middle split, a full front split or a full side split.  The Alliance Splits Club currently boasts nine members; Please join us in congratulating those students who have put in the work to reach their full splits!

The Alliance Splits Club

For more pictures, check out our Splits Club Gallery or our Facebook page!

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Tough Mudder 2017

This September, Master Devon Waldron headed out to Seattle to do his third Tough Mudder event, inviting new blackbelt Austin Hunt to come out with him to participate.  The Tough Mudder is a 10+ mile obstacle course race, and this year’s track out in Black Diamond, WA was miles of running through hilly forest and over large quarry rocks, with multiple obstacles including all of the Mudder Legion events.  The team completed the event in approximately 2.5 hours, which is fast considering that most participants take between 3-5 hours to finish the event, and a percentage of participants don’t finish at all.

Master Devon Waldron with blackbelt Austin Hunt after running the Tough Mudder in Black Diamond, WA.

The Tough Mudder was the “main event,” but Master Devon – who completed two higher education degrees in the area – showed his blackbelt around Seattle and introduced him to lots of new experiences, especially Seattle cuisine!  Hopefully this trip sets a precedent for other events like this so that Alliance can keep creating new possibilities for students.

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