The Yellow Brick Road to Movies, Modeling, and Martial Arts by Sheri Larsen Jeremiah Smith has it all: looks, smarts, talent, and toughness. And at the spry age of twelve, such attributes could easily give him a bloated sense of self. They haven’t. He and his family credit that success to the world of Martial Arts, which helps him focus on the value of humility, respect, hard work, and appreciation of personal success. Senior Grand Master Hee Kwan Lee’s Korean Martial Arts Hap Ki Do Academy in Battle Creek Michigan is where Jeremiah trains and has studied Hap Ki Do for just under five years. He received his second degree black belt from the I.H.F., which is recognized worldwide through the Korean government. As part of the U.S. I.H.F. Korean Martial Arts Youth Demonstration Team, he’s traveled within state to Canada and as far away as Seoul, South Korea. Through competitions, Jeremiah continues to exhibit the trademark Martial Arts characteristics of dedication and loyalty. His love for exercise and health-conscious attitude has made his training more acceptable and also afforded him the opportunity to compete in different martial arts style and tournaments, where he has attained many gold medals and titles. International and Regional tournaments he’s competed in range from the National Hap Ki Do tournament in Seoul, South Korea in 2009 and the 23rd Annual Arnold Schwarzenegger Martial Arts Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio in 2011, to the World Martial Arts Tournament in Battle Creek, MI in 2012 and more. His supportive parents encourage Jeremiah anyway they can, whether by reworking their schedules, providing downtime for him, or just being there. They also credits his level-headedness to the care he receives from his amazing team of instructors—Senior Grand Master Hee Kwan Lee, Grand Master Bob Schreiner, Grand Master Frank Sacchetta (Saulte Ste, Marie, Canada), Master Juan Rangel, Master Rick Brown, and Master Jason Ricker. Their support of Jeremiah the person, not only the athlete, has encouraged him to extend himself through Martial Arts and in other areas of his life. He takes pride in sharing what he’s learned by assisting Martial Arts classes, being an example to his peers. School is also an important part of what makes this young man who he is, achieving high honors during his most recently completed school year. With the achievements Jeremiah has already gathered, one would think he’s found his path in life—his yellow brick road. But there is much more to himself that he looks forward to exploring. Jeremiah has a love of football, water skiing, knee boarding, and tubing with friends. Snow skiing is another one of his athletic outlets as is playing video games and spending leisure time with friends. He’s a fan of turkey sandwiches and action movies, but not so fan-crazed
over the occasional extra pushups and stomach exercise ordered by his instructors when he’s caught goofing off. Jeremiah has a playful side, a fun side that fuels his zest for life to become all he can be. At a young age, he entertained his parents by play-acting as often as he could. This eventually led him to extend himself more, trying his hand at professional modeling and acting. He’s been cast in two short movies—“Gemini” and “The Last Witness”, both in 2012—and has done some modeling as a signed model with Richard Emerich of Model Teenz out of Enfield, CT. The field of modeling and acting has reinforced the lessons he’s learned through the martial arts world. “Auditioning for acting roles or modeling gigs takes lots of patience, just like with training in martial arts. The disappointments teach me to believe in myself even more and keep trying,” says Jeremiah. The future is wide open for Jeremiah, limitless options. Short term, he’s looking forward to competing in Seoul, South Korea in 2013 for the 9th Triennial International Hap Ki Do Championship and the Moo Moo Kwan Hap Ki Do Championships. During his upcoming high school years and beyond, he’d like to attend college and remain a role model to younger kids. Blending his experience of martial arts, movies, and modeling, he’d like to perfect his skills and use them as a stunt double in the film industry. With his talents, his support system of parents and instructors, and his adventurous side, Jeremiah Smith’s name will surely be etched someday in his very own yellow brick road of success.
Sparring Cancer Using MA Skills Most three year olds have loads of energy. Some have a bit more. And some need distractive interventions for balancing it all. Meet Jonathan Bland. At the age of three, he was that child. The one brimming with electric energy. So much so that it limited his attention span and led him to frustration and anger issues. Introducing him to TaeKwonDo was the arena his parents chose to give him structure and the ability to help himself. And it was a hit. Jonathan made an instant connection with the sport, and the ability to focus his energies in positive ways began to grow. In a short three years, (which put him at the young age of only six), he achieved his probationary black belt and knew in his heart he wanted to spread his passion for TKD with other kids. He tested for instructor shortly afterwords. He’s been assisting classes since the age of nine, even shouldering the responsibility of keeping class on track while a smaller group is taken aside for individual help. Training and teaching classes four hours a day nearly six days a week has peeled away Jonathan’s shy layers, instilling within him humble confidence and maturity his mother is proud of. Now, at the age of ten, he holds the rank of assistant instructor. The skill to concentrate his energies has improved dramatically over time; he simply loves helping other kids learn the art of TKD. But moments prior to a tournament in March of 2012, he