Saturday the 2nd of November 2013 will go down as an important date in the history of the Australian Hapkido Association. After a grading that saw many graders tested to their limit, the annual award night saw an event that brought many old Hapkido practitioners out of retirement to witness Master Kevin Brown awarded his 7th Dan and Grandmaster Matthew Kim awarded his 8th Dan.
These promotions recognise the roles, past and present, these leaders have and do play in the development of our Art in Australia. They also demonstrate the growth and potential of the Hapkido Association which continues to develop and produce new generations of Black Belts, Instructors and Masters.
A long time ago, when I was first getting students to a more senior level, I asked Master Kim, “How do you know when someone is ready to grade”. His answer was interesting: “When you start to think of them as being a higher level than they currently are.” I still use this as part of my guideline.
This year we decided to make the Awards Night a bit more formal than usual to reflect the importance of the special awards being granted. I believe this gave the occasion some of the dignity it deserved.
Another important part of the Annual award ceremony is the Master Scott Wetherell award. Master Scott Wetherell was the most “larger than life” people I have ever met, yet also one of the most genuine.
Master Mitchell Wetherell spoke of his brother and his contribution to his life and our Martial Art and presented the award for “Continuing the Journey” to Master Matt Geister. Matt is a worthy recipient who not only contributes to the Association as an able Secretary, he contributes his expertise both within his very successful club (with Master Tamanini) and to the Association as well, travelling and taking seminars and contributing to Black Belt training in Sydney.
Those I spoke to on the night, both past and present members, seemed filled with optimism for the future of our Association. Dominic Salsiccia pointed out to me that there is an element of these promotions that are “lifted from below” by the growth and development of the Association as well as the individual accomplishments of those receiving the awards.
Many worthy recipients received recognition of their new rank achieved at that days grading, but one person stands out to me, it is appropriate that he was awarded his 4th Dan, that is Daniel Turner. Danny stands out as one who has always striven to improve every detail of his martial art, right from the days he haunted Scott Wetherells dojang to the present day.
Danny carried out his grading with great focus and also a sense of enjoyment. His face breaking into smiles when he was really pushed at sparring he led the way in courage and enthusiasm.
When I see people like Danny coming through, I also have confidence in the future of our Association.