A group of young Taekwondo practitioners have earned higher ranks after passing their exams last week.
Of the 11 students who passed the exams at the Martial Arts Academy, Lex Ferrer and Ronald Simpson earned the highest ranks, each receiving a red belt. Next was Alex Leonel Arteaga Licona, who added a blue stripe to his green belt.
In addition, five students earned green stripes on their yellow belts and three added yellow stripes on their white belts.
In order to rank up, students must break boards, improve forms, learn new kicks, showcase skills during sparring, and have a good attendance record. Throughout the process, a student must be disciplined, Charlie McGriele, 10, who earned a green stripe on his belt, told the Cayman Compass.
“When you go to your grading you’ll get disqualified immediately if you show any disrespect,” he said. “So you have to be extremely respectful in order to grade and as you go up the grades, it gets more difficult.”
Simpson, 11, says his journey in taekwondo is important to him.
“What I’m doing makes me happy,” he said. “I really like taekwondo and I started when I was younger so it’s in my heart; that’s why I like to do it.”
Dylan McGriele, 11, who also added a green stripe, said he is pleased with how far he has come and hopes to continue improving.
“It was pretty hard,” he said. “I’ve improved most on my self-control and to stay quiet for long periods of time. I think that reaching this belt is a good achievement. I hope I can get better belts.”