In a martial art, you have to start somewhere. In Haidong Gumdo, like most other martial arts, that place is white belt. Here at Whakatane Haidong Gumdo we tend to get new club members in groups. In the past few months, six new people have joined our Gumdo whanau. Derek Caudwell, Ned Fairlie, John and JJ Keppa and Jason Te Whau all have recently achieved their first grading. Dakoda Waikato just started this week and will be going for his first grading in December. “New members brings new perspectives into the club.” said Whakatane Haidong Gumdo’s Head Instructor Danyel Degenhardt. “It provides senior belts an opportunity to teach in a different way, and grows the overall knowledge of our martial art.”
Each new member has shown great commitment both as a group and individually in learning there first movements. John and JJ Keppa, who were the second and third addition to the five yellow belts, became the clubs fifth parent-youth duo representing the clubs first core value of Whanau perfectly.
This number of new members has not been seen for over a year. The last big intake this size was back at the start of 2021, as New Zealand shook off the first wave of Covid-19 lockdowns. Those ten members have all undertaken their own Gumdo journeys, not unlike the way a tree grows, with each member branching out and making their legacy within the club.
With the end of the year just around the corner, the six new members have started to prepare for the final grading of 2022. It will be held on Tuesday the 13th of December at 6:00 pm in the Ohope Hall. It is shaping up to be Whakatane Haidong Gumdo’s Grande Finale of the year as they finish the year on a high note.
Next year is already starting to look quite busy with the main event being the Haidong Gumdo World Championships in July. “I could not be more excited about what 2023 will bring for our club and Haidong Gumdo across New Zealand.,” said Degenhardt. “We will be aiming to send about a dozen of our martial artists to South Korea for World Championships. I am looking forward to preparing for the trip where we will experience Haidong Gumdo from where it all began.”