Tang Soo Do students excel at Regional Championship

At the Region 6 Championship Sept. 9-10, Tang Soo Do students of Tom Jones’ studio at American Health and Fitness in Russellville, along with students of his Haleyville studio, were able to demonstrate everything they have learned and accomplished, bringing home more than a dozen trophies and medals marking their achievements.

Region 6, Jones said, represents Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. This year’s championship was held in New Orleans.

“Dedicated, we start preparing in July for the September event,” said Jones, who serves as chief instructor of his two studios. Of course, training truly takes place year-round, with committed students always working to improve their forms and knowledge.

Jones’ students took the following awards:

  • Caleb Henry: Grand Champion in 18-35 age group, gold in forms, silver in weapons and silver in sparring.
  • Susanne Belew: Gold in forms.
  • Jarrett Baggett: Best Black Belt test youth, silver in forms and silver in weapons.
  • Stephen Strictland: Highest written test score for youth, bronze in forms, bronze in weapons and bronze in sparring (co-third).
  • Nick Galloway: Gold in forms, silver in weapons and bronze in sparring.
  • Dale Galloway: Gold in forms and silver in sparring.
  • Amanda Galloway: Silver in forms.
  • Tasha Trapp: Gold in weapons and bronze in sparring.

“For a small studio like us, we’ve always been blessed with people winning best test and Grand Champion,” Jones said. “I’m really proud of them.”

Jones himself was promoted to Masters Rank. “There are only about 220 masters in the world,” Jones said. “It’s a big deal.”

A range of ages can pursue Tang Soo Do, which is a Korean-based martial art, at All American Tang Soo Do in Russellville, which has been operating 14 years in Russellville. Students from 8-69 attended this year’s regional competition.

“The oldest student I have ever had was 93,” Jones said.

Henry, who achieved the coveted Grand Champion title in his age division, is also an instructor at All American Tang Soo Do. His Grand Champion title was based on his scoring in the forms, weapons and sparring categories. He has been pursuing Tang Soo Do 11 years.

Jarrett Baggett, one of four of Jones’ students testing for Black Belt, won best test in the youth category. Baggett has been practicing the discipline three years.

On the hundred question written test, Strictland, who has been practicing Tang Soo Do four years, demonstrated his knowledge of forms, terminology, history and more. He scored a 97. “There’s a student manual, and all the questions come out of that manual,” Jones said.

At All American Tang Soo Do, a certified studio of the World Tang Soo Do Association, self-defense, better health and becoming a better person are the three focuses of the discipline, Jones said. Classes are offered Mondays and Thursdays, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. for beginners and 4:30-5:30 p.m. for more advanced students. Training includes kicking techniques, fighting forms, free sparring and weapons training.

Progressing from white belt to black belt, Jones said, takes about three and a half to four years.

For more information on All American Tang Soo Do, call 256-366-8375.

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