Cierra Brassfield, Edward Welch, Mika Brassfield, Shari Franke, Arlene Franke, Danny MacIntosh and Master Bud Draper pose with their medals and plaques after returning from the World Tang Soo Do Championships on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Cierra Brassfield, Edward Welch, Mika Brassfield, Shari Franke, Arlene Franke, Danny MacIntosh and Master Bud Draper pose with their medals and plaques after returning from the World Tang Soo Do Championships on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Martial arts students return from world championships

Seven students of Soldotna Martial Arts have returned from the World Tang Soo Do championships. Two students, Mika Brassfield and Shari Franke, received medals for competitions involving open-hand forms and weapons forms.

Master Bud Draper has been practicing Tang Soo Do since 1970 and has been running Soldotna Martial Arts for over 25 years. Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art that integrates other kinds of martial arts like kung fu and karate. Draper said Tang Soo Do helps develop good lifelong health habits and good character through hard work and rigorous training.

The World Tang Soo Do Championship is held every two years in Greensboro, North Carolina and members of the World Tang Soo Do Association are welcome to attend.

The championships hosted 700 black belts and over a thousand colored belts from all over the world.

“It’s a very large tournament, but the purpose is not to determine who is the best, the greatest, the strongest, the fastest.” Draper said. “The purpose is to bring the family together, the worldwide Tang Soo Do family.”

At Soldotna Martial Arts, any students who wanted to participate were welcome to join. For three of the seven, it was their third time going; the rest had never been before.

This was Mika Brassfield’s third time attending the championships. She’s been practicing Tang Soo Do with her sister, Cierra, since 2009.

“Every time I go down there it surprises me, even though I’m used to the number of people there,” Mika Brassfield said. “It’s fun to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones.”

Arlene Franke, who is affectionately known as grandma, was the oldest woman competitor at 76 years old. She’s been practicing Tang Soo Do since 2011.

“I was a bit surprised at how nice it was and I was really surprised about how big it actually was,” Franke said.

At the championships, everyone competes in three different competitions: open-hand form, weapons form and sparring. Mika Brassfield won a bronze medal in open-hand form and a silver medal in weapons form. Shari Franke won a silver medal in open-hand form.

Shari Franke said her first championship gave her new drive.

“I have a different view of the art in some ways,” she said. “Seeing aspects of it from all over the world and what can be done… it gets you excited.”

While the championship hosted its fair share of competition, the event was centered around community and learning.

“It was exciting to me,” Edward Welch, a student since 2011, said. “I learned a lot. It didn’t feel like a competition. It felt more like everybody was just there to have a good time and support each other, like a big family reunion.”

Reach Victoria Petersen at vpetersen@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

The Seward welcome sign is photographed in July 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward vice mayor and council member resigns

The council accept the resignation of Tony Baclaan during its Monday night meeting.

Ben Mohr watches Kenai River Junior Classic participants head out to fish on the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Mohr resigns as director of KRSA

He has been the executive director of KRSA for nearly three years.

Heather and Hunter Phillips walk through the Kenai Community Library Haunted Hunt with their mom Kumi Phillips on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Scary reads

Spooky literary characters come to life at Kenai library haunted house.

Alaska state Rep. Laddie Shaw, an Anchorage Republican, waits for the start of a so-called technical session on the House floor, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. The fourth special legislative session of the year began Oct. 4, in Juneau, but there has been little action at the Capitol and little progress toward resolving Alaska’s fiscal issues. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Special session plods on with little action

Many legislative offices have been dark and floor sessions in some cases have lasted seconds.

The Kenai Community Library health section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. After the Kenai City Council postponed a vote to approve a grant funding health and wellness books, community members set up a GoFundMe to support the purchase of materials. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
After cries of censorship, community raises funds for library

The Kenai City Council voted during its Oct. 20 meeting to postpone acceptance of a $1,500 grant for materials related to health and wellness.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
11 new deaths reported

Statewide there were 244 COVID-related hospitalizations as of Tuesday, with 37 of them on ventilators.

Rep. Don Young talks during a June 2021 interview with the Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Young to face off with a Begich yet again

Young, 88, seemed unfazed by Begich’s entry into the race.

A remote galaxy captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is greatly magnified and distorted by the effects of gravitationally warped space. (Image via NASA)
Grant brings NASA to library

The grant supports science, technology, engineering, arts and math programming for patrons.

Most Read