Self Defense America students earn black belts

By DAVID J. HARDIN
Cove Leader-Press

On Friday night, three students achieved their goal of becoming a black belt in Taekwando at the Self Defense America Dojo. 
Parents of Alexander Garner, and Desirae and Diane Manguerra, were on hand to watch their children’s milestone of earning the black belt. 
Parents of the other students in the class came to support their kids and celebrate the new black belts.
Master Jimmy Hogberg then awarded the other students in the class with their new upgraded belts, with some receiving a blue belt and others earning their orange and green belts.
Following that, Master Jimmy read a certificate of achievement and presented Alexander, Desirae, and Diane with their black belts.
While the presentation was being made, the three were all surrounded by the other students in the class who formed a circle to honor these three individuals.
Hogberg made some announcements before a reception that followed the ceremony.  
In February 2018, he will be celebrating 20 years of teaching and having a Taekwando dojo in Copperas Cove. 
He also reminded them about the bow staff seminar to be held September 30. 
Lastly, he addressed the parents by saying. “Thank you for all of your support over the years, for without you this place would not exist.”
Hogberg talked about the learning process that takes place when earning belts in taekwando.  
“The black belt is a major goal, and there are going to be times where it is hard or boring and a student is going to want to give up,” he said. “The message is, Taekwando isn’t for everyone and most people don’t get the black belt, and the ones that do, most of them want to quit. 
It is about getting those values to where they will have the confidence to persevere when the going gets tough, and they can look back and say, ‘I never thought that I can earn a black belt, but I did, and no one can ever take that achievement away from me.’” 
Alexander Garner is eight years old and will be going into the third grade at House Creek Elementary School in Copperas Cove. He says that he has been taking classes from Master Jimmy at Self Defense America in Copperas Cove for about three years.  
“I wanted to learn Taekwando,” said Alexander. “I am also very happy to receive this black belt and want to continue and one day become a master in Taekwando. One of the most important things to remember is that if you do get into a situation where somebody wants to fight, you should walk away, but if you need to defend yourself then do so.”
Desirae Manguerra and Diane Manguerra are ten-year-old twin sisters, and are going into the fifth grade at Hollie Parsons Elementary School. They said their parents wanted them to take the classes for self-defense purposes. They also explained that they their younger brother Darius is seven years old and has already earned his black belt, because he started Taekwando before they did. Both Diane and Desirae said that they were excited but nervous at the same time about finally getting their black belts
Robert Garner is Alexander’s father. 
“I am very proud of Alexander because he worked so hard for this. He told me a year ago that not only did he want to become a black belt, but he also wanted to continue on and become a Taekwando Master,” Garner said.
Noo Noo Garner is Alexander’s mother. 
“I am so proud of all of the hard work that Alexander has put in to achieving his goal of becoming a black belt. He has at times struggled and wanted to quit, but he never gave up and he persevered.”
Dexie Manguerra is Desirae and Diane’s father. 
“It is a wonderful feeling, I am happy that they reached that high belt. My goal is that I wanted them to continue on, because at one point during the three years of instruction from Master Jimmy, one of the girls wanted to quit, and take up dancing,” he said. “I told my daughters that when you want to achieve a goal like obtaining a black belt in Taekwando and it starts to get hard, then you should keep trying and never give up on your goal.”
Shirley Manguerra also talked about her dughters earning their black belts. “It is a great accomplishment to have my girls receive their black belts, and now all three of my children have black belts.”  

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