Masters Lead in Ceremony Celebrating Achievements

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG)  |  By Elise Spleiss
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Students about to receive their new colored belts with the staff for Family Tai Know Do Plus and grand masters who will present the belts. -- Photo courtesy Family Tae Kwon Do

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Madera Park in Citrus Heights was the setting for a special day on June 10, celebrating both the new, larger Family Tae Kwon Do Plus facility in Citrus Heights, and to honor its family of teachers, staff and students as they celebrated another year of student achievement with their annual Belt Ceremony.

Just one week following the grand opening celebration of the move to a new 5,400 square foot at the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and Antelope Road, friends and family along with five much honored and respected Grand Masters came to the park to recognize students of all ages who have worked so hard to achieve their next level of belt.

The night before the ceremony, the testing panel of the grand masters met and tested 100 color belt students and six high ranking black belts. On the panel were Grand Masters of various martial arts systems: Joe Souza Grand Master- Kensujitsu; Grand Master Vinton Koklich - Parker’s Kenpo; Grand Master Harry Green - Bladed Weapons Specialist; Professor Andre Sims - Taechi & Kenpo Karate, and K.C. McFarland, Grand Master of Kajukenbo. These masters of their craft represent thousands of hours of learning and teaching, generously sharing their expertise and knowledge with others.

Dozens of pupils, beginning with the Kinder Kick class, ages 3-6 years, came forward, one by one to receive their new belt from Professor Dominic Cirincione, Kateena Cirincione, teacher Miss Kasea, 20, and several of the Grand Masters assembled on that day to celebrate ‘Ohana’ or ‘family’ in Hawaiian, and to share and celebrate knowledge.

Parents and staff then helped with the “changing of the belts” as each student switched out their old belt for their new one. Several martial arts demonstrations were given by Zachary Gohn, a new first degree black belt, and Kasea Cirincione, both demonstrating with swords. Cirincione, a new fifth degree black belt also demonstrated a board breaking kick with her fiancé, Brenden Nielsen, a third-degree black belt.

It is an honor to be allowed to test, and to show her gratitude, Kasea who has been doing martial arts since the age of four, presented each Grand Master with a special handmade Barong, a traditional Filipino martial arts weapon.

Following the demonstrations students lined up to have their belts signed by the Grand Masters, followed by a BBQ and more sharing and camaraderie.

Mutual respect is evident in everything the Family staff does. There is a reason or that. In a conversation on the merits of teaching and learning discipline and respect in today’s children, Professors Sousa and Koklich, who share over 120 years of martial arts experience between them, noted that there is “no respect or discipline today and these are needed to pursue things in life”. “You have to earn it, life isn’t where everyone gets a trophy…there are winners and losers, that’s part of life”. They added that having discipline and respect affects the student’s whole life, “makes them better citizens and students.”

Family Tae Kwon Do Plus is located at 7831 Sunrise Blvd. at the corner of Sunrise Blvd. and Antelope Road. 916 (725-3200). It offers a wide choice of classes and other resources for children and adults.