Jon Trefz awarded fifth degree black belt

Jon Trefz awarded fifth degree black belt After one month of anxiously awaiting the results of his testing completed at the American Taekwondo Association's (ATA) World Championships in Little Rock, AR, Jon Trefz learned that he has been awarded his fifth degree black belt.

Trefz joins just three others in South Dakota who hold this rank.

It has taken Trefz 19 years of involvement in the ATA to get to this point. He explains that it takes a minimum of five years to go from fourth degree to fifth degree, which includes three mid-term testings and then the final testing at Worlds. During these tests he must exhibit excellence in performing his required form, sparring, and executing board breaks.

Though Trefz is proud of his accomplishment, he exudes more pride talking about the many children and adults that he has trained in his last 15 years as an instructor in Vermillion. One can tell that he has a great love of the sport of taekwondo.

"It's just fun!" he said. "I love teaching because it helps me to become a better martial artist, as well as a better person. While I am teaching, I am always learning."

Trefz's school is one of 1,400 ATA schools teaching over 400,000 students age 4 and up. It is part of the largest national martial arts organization in the world.

Trefz said Songahm Taekwondo focuses on personal development of both the mind and body. Students not only learn self-defense strategies and improve coordination but also feel a sense of personal achievement as they dedicate themselves to the values, philosophy and training of Songahm Taekwondo.

Trefz added that the Karate for Kids program focuses on building strong bodies and clear minds by incorporating values such as goals, courtesy, self-control, respect, and dedication into training.

"Most parents notice their child's self-esteem and self-confidence increase from participation in taekwondo," Trefz said.

As for Trefz's next goal in his taekwondo career, he said, "I hope to keep teaching and I would eventually like to become an ATA master. This requires a minimum of six more years of hard work and an invitation from the Masters committee."

Given his current level of commitment to his sport, it will not be surprising if this Vermillion resident meets his goal.

For more information regarding Vermillion taekwondo classes, contact Trefz at 624-5360.

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