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 Homer Spit stretching into Kachemak Bay is seen here on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homer woman indicted over seaplane incident

Marian Tillion Beck was indicted on charges of negligent operation of a vessel and attempted interference with the navigation of a sea plane

Soldotna High School can be seen in this Sept. 2, 2021, photo, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Little Sweethearts’ family dance to debut at SoHi

The event will be hosted by SoHi’s freshmen student council

Soldotna City Council members interview city manager applicant Elke Doom (on screen) during a special city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Doom, Bower named finalists for Soldotna manager gig

The two will visit Soldotna for in-person meetings on Feb. 7 and 13, respectively

The northern fur seal rescued by Alaska SeaLife Center staff is seen on Jan. 31, 2023, at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kaiti Grant/Alaska SeaLife Center)
Northern fur seal pup admitted to SeaLife Center rescue program

The pup was reported by Sitka residents using the center’s 24-hour stranding hotline

The Kenai Community Library children’s section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Literary competition returns to local schools

Battle of the Books aims to instill in kids a love of reading

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Climate activists hold a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol Friday afternoon in advocacy for legislative action to improve Alaska’s renewable energy development and future sustainability.
Climate activists hold rally near the Capitol

Statewide organizations advocate for legislative action

Shanon Davis, the executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, hands out candy during the Sweeny’s St. Patrick’s Parade in Soldotna on March 17, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Davis to step down as Soldotna chamber head

Davis oversaw the implementation of Soldotna’s “Holding Our Own,” shop local program

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State parks advisory boards accepting applications

Alaska State Park advisory boards provide state park managers with recommendations on management issues

Most Read