Preparing for Black Belt Test

Has it really been four years since I’ve updated this blog? While this is the original blog I have been writing for my small business in counseling and started another one featuring my 1000 papercrane project. Preparing for my Black Belt Test which will be October 7th at 5pm. Here is the paper I submitted as part of the test requirements.

A Way of Life with Great Grand Master Lee:  Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit by Jasmine Rose Penter

The History of Taekwondo:  Taekwondo originated in Korea and is one of the oldest forms of martial arts reaching back over 2000 years.  Some estimate it was practiced in its primitive form as far back as 5000 years.  It has been suggested by some that it was developed as a defense against wild animals as well as being useful for hunting food and strengthening the body.  One of the earliest signs of Taekwondo’s existence is from a mural found on a wall in a tomb built in the Korean kingdom of Koguryo between 37 B.C. and 66 A.D. Back then there were three kingdoms:  Koguryo, Paekje, and Silla.  Silla unified the kingdoms after winning the wars with Paekje in 668 A.D. and Koguryo in 670 A.D.  The Hwarang, an elite group of noble men, were part of this unification and they had a honor code and practiced several martial arts including Taekyou, Soo Bakh Do, and Sabuk.  They also learned weaponry such as swords, spears, and bows. Ethical standards were taught by Buddhist monks.  The principles of the Hwarang were that they were to be dedicated to more than themselves; they were bound to serve the kingdom, its citizens, and lead an exemplary lifestyle.  The old honor code of the Hwarang is the philosophical background of modern Taekwondo.

In 1945 schools called kwans opened up. These kwans were Chung Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, Yun Moo Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, Chi Do Kwan, and Song Moo Kwan. They were established by Korean martial artists with backgrounds mostly in Japanese and Chinese martial arts.  Indigenous disciplines like Taekkyeon were fading due to the repression of the Japanese colonial government which dominated Korea in 1910 until the end of World War II.  At that time, the Korean culture was greatly impacted as the heritage, arts, or other practices were considered illegal.  

South Korean President Syngman Rhee saw a demonstration by ROK Army officers Choi Hong-hi and Nam Tae-hi and he mistook Taekwondo as Taekkyeon and asked that it be taught to the military.  Taekwondo has gone by many names such as Tae Kyon, Soo Bak Do, Kong Soo Do, Tang Soo Do, and others.  Besides the military learning Taekwondo it was also taught to police officers and air force.  In 1955 the kwans were united as Tae Soo Do. Choi Hong-hi, who was a general of the Oh Do Kwan, recommended using the term Tae Kwon Do and in 1959 the Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA) was established to help the unification of Korean martial arts. There were disagreements about this by different kwans and General Choi broke off from the KTA to create the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) in 1966.  After General Choi’s retirement ITF split in 2001 and then again in 2002 creating three separate federations.

KTA and the South Korean government established Kukkiwon in 1972 as a new academy for Taekwondo.  The World Taekwondo Federation was established in 1973 and the headquarters are at Kukkiwon in Seoul Korea.  Taekwondo is not only a traditional martial art but also a modern sport practiced by over 700 million people in 200 countries.  Taekwondo has been one of three Asian martial arts that are included in the Olympics.  In 1980 it was recognized by the International Olympic committee and was a demonstration sport at the 1988 Olympics.  In 2000 it debuted as an official olympic sport.


Cal State LA.  Brief History of Taekwondo.

Korean Martial Arts.  Taekwondo History Summarised by Master Bradley:

Taekwondo-Guide.  Taekwondo History.

Wikipedia.  Taekwondo.

My Training Experience: I started Taekwondo October 1, 2018 as my women’s indoor soccer team was on hiatus due to several players with injuries.  I knew I needed a physical outlet and my spouse encouraged me to consider martial arts as he’s a black belt in Kenpo and has studied several other martial arts.  While talking to some co-workers Velana Rinck had told me about Great Grand Master Lee and Jeremy and I checked out his website. I went down to the dojang, met Great Grand Master Lee and signed up!  Not long after joining the dojang I found out about the Seoul Korea Trip and signed up for that.  I started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help raise the money which also allowed me to introduce Taekwondo to family and friends.  By the time I went to Seoul Korea I was a green belt.  My first belt test was a double belt test going from white belt to yellow instructor on December 1, 2018.  

Seoul Korea was an amazing trip during spring break March 2019.  We had the opportunity to watch the Kukkiwon team practice, we practiced with the Kyunghee University dojang, and at the Golgusa Temple where we learned about Sunmudo martial arts and practiced archery.  I was able to learn more Korean language, enjoy Korean food, and had a great time getting to know my fellow classmates even better.  

Practice at the dojang with Gayle Traux (our belts have been upgraded since this photo!).

Gayle Traux was my roommate and this became very special as I got to know her and her son Connor.  Tragically Connor died in a car accident in April 2021. It was on this trip to Korea that I watched and learned from him, a 15 year old who had amazing Taekwondo talent.  

Washington Governor’s Cup at St. Martin’s University

I participated in the Eugene Parade, my first demo team experience on September 22, 2019.  This was a lot of fun running outside, practicing with the children, and inviting my mom to watch.  The Washington Governor’s Cup was 10/12/2019 and I got a silver medal in breaking boards and a bronze for individual Poom saw Tae Gook Oh Jang.  Here my cousin Jesse, aunt Edie, and family friend Emily attended to cheer me on as they all live in Washington.  My second and third demo team experiences were at the Matthew Knight Arena November 16, 2019 and at the Asian Celebration February 16, 2020.  

World Championships in Portland, Oregon

I participated at the World Championships in Portland March 7, 2020 just before the pandemic stay at home orders came into effect.  Here I brought home a gold medal for breaking board jumping front kick and bronze for individual Poom Sae Pal Jang.  The individual poom sae was difficult because I got so nervous I froze in the middle of this.  Great Grand Master Lee told me not to worry, because with more experience, the better I will get.  Private lessons with Great Grand Master Lee have been helpful along the way as I learn to grind and polish the skills I’ve learned.

This year I have participated in the Mt. Pisgah New Years hike and the Self Defense Seminar June 12th where I learned to use nunchucks and a sword as well as self defense with handguns.

Taekwondo has meant a lot to me because my mother is Chinese and I feel connected to my heritage when I practice.  It has helped me relieve a lot of stress and anxiety as I prepared to leave my job at the hospital and opened my private counseling practice full time January 2020.  Not to mention the effects of COVID-19 worldwide.  I believe Taekwondo has helped me stay centered, more healthy, and has introduced me to wonderful experiences and so many amazing people.  In addition my indoor soccer skills have improved and I continue to try new things at the age of 42; like scoring my first goal via header and preparing for my first black belt test!


“The practice of a martial art should be a practice of love – for the preservation of life, for the preservation of body, and for the preservation of family and friends.”

— Dan Inosanto.

Oregon is on Fire

Took a drive up to Kelly Butte today to see what I could see in Springfield, Oregon.  Not sure I’ve seen smoke quite like this in the Willamette Valley.

Backyard Upgrade

Finally covered our backyard with walk on bark from Lane Forest Products.  Boy were these guys enjoying themselves this afternoon!   DSC_0183.JPG


Getting their play on!

Crazy action going on here.

Crazy action going on here.

What's that smell?

What’s that smell?


Ready to play ball.




Here’s looking at you Mom!

Tired Dog Ranch

Today my in laws stopped by for an impromptu visit and asked if I’d like to join them to check out the Tired Dog Ranch as a possible camping option this coming summer.  Just under 40 miles from my home in West Fir, this was a fun adventure!  My sister in law does a horse/dog camping event every summer and our thought is that this place might work for that.  It has a yurt, cottage, cabin, and lots of space for camping.  DSC_0166

The woman who lives here said they’ve had several weddings here as well.  DSC_0165

The colorful building here is the cottage, next to the house.  DSC_0164

This building here is the cabin and that road leads to one large grassy area with a large space for a bonfire and camping and space for horses.  DSC_0161

Vacation in Seattle

DSC_0158DSC_0156I realized this last fall that I had not taken a vacation since September 2014.  Dreaming of my cousin Riis I woke up realizing I’d best go visit that girl and her family before she’s off to professional dance school or college.  And then I designed the trip right before my 37th birthday.  Got to spend half of a day in Seattle soaking up Pikes Place and while it was cold the sun was shining.  DSC_0155

Road the largest ferries I’ve ever been on 4 times, twice in vehicles which was a blast.  I also got to watch my cousin compete in the Youth America Grand Prix.  She was awesome!   DSC_0157.JPG Unfortunately they would not let us take pictures of their performances however it was a treat to see her live.  A gorgeous ride back to their home in Poulsbo yesterday made for some great photography.DSC_0159


Hi Monday, how are you?  I scheduled the day off today from working at the hospital as part of my self care plan and somehow a cold decided to follow me.  It has been trying to make friends for a couple of weeks and Friday finally got ahold of me.  I’ve been going through a lot so I’ve actually been surprised it hadn’t caught up to me sooner.  So what did I do today?  I slept in.  I played with my dogs outside and enjoyed watching them watch the squirrels scamper up the trees.  I came back inside and did laundry and dishes and then decided to rest again.  Then I decided to go drop some donations off and would see where the drive would take me before my acupuncture appointment.  I had a great lunch watching people and looking at the gorgeous fall colors.  Enjoyed some sushi and thought of the family I used to nanny in Pittsburgh because that’s where I first tried and fell in love with sushi.  And I listened to one of them most fascinating conversations, likely fascinating because by the looks of these two men I never would have guess the words that would fall out of their mouths.  They talked of transference, addiction, and being addicted to the unhealthy mindset.  Right up this counselor’s alley.  And I looked around me and imagined all the lives and hearts of those around me, not really knowing anyone and yet totally comfortable with this fact.

So Monday, thank you for helping take care of me.  I’m watching, I’m listening.

Love these Fall days.

Love these Fall days.

Halloween with Wonder Woman & Word Girl

Had a great trip north to visit some of the cousins and my Aunt Gayle yesterday and today.  Had the pleasure of getting totally drenched in rainy Oregon with Wonder Woman and Word Girl last night trick or treating.  It was good to be with family and enjoy the dress up/candy excitement of the little ones.  These two still seem to be contemplating the fact that I am the same age as their father (still asking, are you a kid or an adolescent?).  I am happy to know they sense my young heart.

Wonder Woman, Pink Cow Girl AKA Pinkie, & Word Girl Photo taken by Micah Sheller

Wonder Woman, Pink Cow Girl AKA Pinkie, & Word Girl
Photo taken by Micah Sheller

Visiting Angie at Rest Haven

I’ve been missing my sweet friend Angie lately, partly because I know I could have talked to her about my Uncle Hal and she would understand the impact of his death on me.  I’d realized recently that I’d been driving past Rest Haven on my way to an appointment a week or so ago so I went to visit her yesterday.  There was construction going on there, it looks as if they are expanding Rest Haven.  I noticed a lot of birds singing and the groundskeepers were busy caring for the property.  DSC_0145It was so nice to see fall colors there, although it made me miss fall in Pittsburgh, PA!  Most interesting was that I wasn’t prepared for how happy I was going to be to see her picture again.  Her beautiful smile still shines on.  DSC_0142

I sent her mom and sister a close up of her picture and the other sweet happening has been that friends and family have been sharing and appreciating this photo as well. DSC_0143Angie died 8/1/1999 of cystic fibrosis.  She was a talented, loving, wise, and full of life individual that I’ve known since 1st grade soccer.  Valuable lessons she has taught me include taking care of my body because I only have one, that I should live fully, presently, and passionately, and most often to make sure I communicate with those I love honestly and openly.

Living Between Life and Death: A Tribute to Uncle Hal


Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. -Brené Brown

Today I gave a message at the Eugene Mennonite Church and below here is the take away.

I would like each of you to consider if you only had 6 days left on Earth, like Uncle Hal had from the day he admitted on hospice – are you living the life you want to be living? Do those you love and cherish know how you define a good death -for an instance do you want to die at home, amongst family or friends? And, are you in pain? How are you sharing your pain with others? Please do not suffer alone.
I leave you with this…
Grief never ends…but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love.



Yesterday I started back to work.  By midday I was conflicted because I was so enjoying the training but I was also feeling extreme fatigue from the lack of sleeping the night before.  I was starting to feel a little sick to my stomach and as the afternoon progressed I realized I had some control over what was next.  Decided to cancel my teeth cleaning, that just was not important today.  Visited one of my dearest friends and saw a couple other colleagues, got hugs and empathy.  And headed home for a much needed nap.

Woke up refreshed and ready for my first private practice session since 10/10/15, the day after I found out my Uncle was admitted on hospice.  By evening I felt strong.  I took another hour nap and then was able to write like I’d wanted to write the last couple of days.  Not to say I haven’t been writing but I’m trying to document my last hours with Uncle Hal and from that come up with a message for Sunday, titled Living Between Life and Death.  I’m happy to see my subconscious has been doing a lot of this writing and I got into the flow last night.

Today I am back at Riverbend Hospital and on the floor with my MSW student.  To think, I was a brand new MSW student in October 2010.  We also have a site visit with the field liaison today.  I also have one private practice client after work at the hospital.  This morning I must draw strength from within.  It is going to be okay.  I am going to be okay.

Heron Park in Springfield, Oregon

Heron Park in Springfield, Oregon