Well, here it is, more than a week past and the kudos keep coming in how this was absolutely the best conference and banquet thus far. It does my heart good to hear all the positive remarks. Please note that I already have the banquet room at Mi Tierra rebooked for next year as we hit an all time high with 120 folks, 30 Nov and I am working on the Holiday Inn Express (Our original location) right next door to the Drury with the same amenities but a conference room that is 3/4 of a floor long since we were definitely hurting on space this time around not due to any fault of our own for the 1st of Dec 2018 since we had over 42 blackbelts on the board.
I am appreciative of so many people, I will mention names but be assured I will miss some and it will not be intentional. But first, please help me welcome all of our new inductees this year. GM Donny Meadows (West Virginia), GM Jose Luis Hinojosa, M.D. (Kansas), GM Rene Garza (Rio Grand Valley), Master Sandy Larwood (San Antonio), Maestro Tony Tanare, Hawaii with some increases in rank to GM Jesse Rodriguez (San Antonio) and GM Michael Hornsby (San Antonio) and Chodan Silvia Volkmann (Honorary Blackbelt). We welcome them with open arms and already saw the value they will bring to our humble Association. Thanks always to your TKA Blackbelt Council GM Tom Balmos and GM Clarence Smith for making the trip and supporting the annual event, I can always count on my brothers.
Thanks to Master Eric Jones, for the behind the scenes work, putting together the medals, the name plates, the TKA banner and so many other logistical things and then helping with set up and breakdown, invaluable assistance as always. Master Mike Jones for the most awesome pictures, poor Sensei Andrew Moody has been tasked all year with taking pictures and I was hoping to give him a small break but he was still clicking as it is in blood and his eye. Mike even sent me the two cds for my records, thank you so much. And to my sister, Silvia Volkmann, who worked tirelessly before, during and after to take some of the pressure off of me and she did a superb job.
Congratulations to Ea Dan Oscar Olivarez who had a tough task of switching gears from Kung Fu to a Korean system of way different stances and katas but with some coaxing and hard work from the board he pulled it out and for the incredible music he provided. Kudos to Sensei Jose Ramirez and his team at Christian Taekwondo League for their testees putting in the hard work and sweat and earning their new belts, very refreshing to see the transitioning of their new katas which they have embraced with open arms. No slack was cut that is for sure.
Kudos to our board President all the way in from San Mateo, California, GM Gabriel “Blade” Green who kept the test going and working in seminars the whole time.
Also, special awards were presented to Master’s Shannon Ramsey and Stephanie DeLoach for putting our katas down to tape or CD or the cloud, but now they put all our katas, pure TSD katas and some blackbelt advanced ones for folks to reference. They are all located under our tka.cc web site.
Big thanks to my other sister, Ea Dan Heather Rosen Duty for flying in all the way from Tennessee to represent the Duty clan. We needed that visit big time.
To the folks that presented seminars, everyone was impressed, we hope we get more people to step forward next year and provide even more, we love testing people but we enjoyed seeing it turn into an actual conference as well. Every year we get better and better.
Very proud of Master Lowell Lyle who earned the 2017 James Cummings Jr. Spirit Award for all his good work in and outside the dojang.
GrandMaster of the Year – GM Clarence Smith
Blackbelt Instructor of the Year – Sensei Jose Ramirez
Asst. Female Instructor of the Year – Chodan Sylvia McDonald
Asst. Male Instructor of the Year – Ea Dan Amadou Bah (Also picked up to attend West Point Academy late June thus his absence as he was interviewing then)
BJJJ Competitor/Instructor of the Year – Master Shannon Ramsey
School of the Year – Christian Taekwondo League
Blackbelt Competitor of the Year – Master Rick Ramirez
Executive Competitor of the Year – GM Michael Hornsby
Blackbelt of the Year – Master Rick Ramirez
Also, beautiful certificates were passed out for Instructors and Teaching Schools for certain individuals, artwork provided by Sensei Kayo Ramirez.
Many thanks again to all the friends, families, school students and others that showed up at the banquet and conference to support, remember folks we are pressed every year for time so the banquet will always start at 5:15pm in order to keep things somewhat on time so plan accordingly a year in advance and arrive early.
If anyone is interested in testing or presenting a seminar next year please get your recommendation letters in to me soonest. Never too soon to plan.
PS: Our next big event and we hope a lot of you all can make it to support the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame being held in July in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They count on our support and Silvia V. is their point gal at the front desk again.
Johnny K. Thompson, GrandMaster, 9th Degree
President, Tang Soo Do Karate Association