Well another successful banquet and conference has come and gone. What have we learned? We learned we are still viable and a force to be reckoned with. Close to 100 awesome people packed our banquet and it went so smoothly with Sam Dan Joey DuPuis as emcee. So many people helped, too many to mention but all appreciated. We were blessed and honored to have Professor John Harding and Sensei Guy Shinkaruk at our tables as our special guests this year.
The conference testing went well, with close to 40 blackbelts on the board as usual always things to learn from and improve all marked down to hopefully, make our 23rd Annual the first weekend in Dec 2017 even more productive. People learned that if you don’t train properly you will get called on it, our board was very precise and picky this year which was mainly due to GM Gabriel Green calling the shots as Board President. He kept the day running smooth and efficient as I knew he would. Thanks to Master Rod Garrett for setting everything up and to Master Eric Jones for his awesome name tags, inserts for our medals and setting up and lugging all the behind the scenes logistics as well as all my stuff that I create every year. And to the Golden Dragon Karate Studio Team led by GM Jesse Rodriguez and staff along with family, we appreciate you opening your doors once again and we hope we left your dojang in good arrangement. And let’s not forget Jody and Christie Jenkins who took pictures at our banquet and to Mrs. Billie Moody for this year’s t-shirt design and also taking tons of pictures at the conference.
Our 2016 James Cummings Jr. Spirit Award winner was presented in absentia to Sensei Gary Floyd who supported not only in word but in deed, donating much monies to people in need and well as supporting folks attending the 2016 US Martial Arts Hall of Fame who otherwise couldn’t have attended and achieved their award. His plaque and some goodies have been sent to him so hopefully, he will receive this week. This Floyd family is absolutely the best; we appreciate their support and hope they can bless us with their presence next year 2017.
Award winners for this year were:
- GM Instructor of the Year: GM Jesse Rodriguez
- Master Blackbelt Instructor of the Year: Master Elizabeth Garcia
- Female Blackbelt Instructor of the Year: Sam Dan Kayo Ramirez
- Male Blackbelt Instructor of the Year: Sam Dan Jose “Big Ram” Ramirez
- Asst. Blackbelt Instructor of the Year: Sam Dan Joey DuPuis
- Jr. Instructor of the Year: Sam Dan Gio Ramirez
- Female Master Blackbelt Competitor of the Year: Master Elizabeth Garcia
- Master (Male) Blackbelt Competitor of the Year: Master Michael Hornsby
- Competition School of the Year: Golden Dragon Karate Studio
- TKA School of the Year: Christian Taekwondo League
- BJJ Competitor of the Year: Master Shannon Ramsey
- GrandMaster of the Year: GM Gabriel Green
- Female Blackbelt of the Year: Master Shannon Ramsey
- Male Blackbelt of the Year: Sifu Oscar Olivarez
Again, thank you for continued support, we already have Master Lowell Lyle set up to do a seminar on 13 & 14 Jan at Christian Taekwondo League dojang at 6pm and 9am respectively.
If you haven’t paid for TKA dues and want to continue to be a member you can still contact me for information in that matter.
Remember, train the way you fight, fight the way you train in other words, get off your keisters and start being active and start promoting the arts again, I saw a lot of spirits get raised, the trick is to hold on to that glimmer and make something happen with it. I believe 2017 will be a banner year as we have already procured the US Martial Arts Hall of Fame here at the Airport Hilton in July, big feather in our cap and I hope all will do what they can to support this event and recognize our martial artists. Till next time our paths cross, don’t be a stranger and we hope to even grow more this year. We also inducted some new folks, Sam Dan Becky Novak from the Red Dragons came aboard as well as Sam Dan Rick Ramirez from Harlingen joining the team and let’s not forget a new Chodan Letty Kaminski and Chodan Rosie Rodriguez as well, and we welcome them with open arms and look forward to a great exchanging of ideas and networking. We have to continue growing if we want to survive, GM Cummings would’ve wanted that. Tang Soo!
Johnny K. Thompson, GrandMaster, 9th Degree