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More Than Just Martial Arts Taught at Deslandes Blue Wave Tae Kwon Do Academy

August 1, 2012

Lisa Erwin-Davidson is in full training mode at Deslandes Blue Wave Tae Kwon Do Academy. Photo Mike Olmstead

NEWPORT–Respect.
It was the first word that came to my mind when I entered Deslandes Blue Wave Tae Kwon Do Academy studio.
Master Christina Deslandes was working with a student when I arrived, and there was no fooling around.
The youngster was focused, going through his workout with a business-like attitude rarely seen in a child of his age.
But at Blue Wave that is the norm, not the exception.
Students at the Academy learn the five tenets, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control and indomitable spirit.
"It is something we follow in the school and outside the school. It helps in making sure you are a well rounded person," said six year veteran Lisa Erwin-Davidson, who attends the school along with her son James Miller.
These tenets have been with the school and its students since the school was founded in 1968.
The Blue Wave Tae Kwon Do Association was started by Grand Master Bruce V. Twing, who learned the martial art from Grand Masters Tae Sung Lee and Myong Kil Kim while serving in the military in Korea.
Called the Vermont Academy of Karate (Tae Kwon Do was an unknown term at the time), Twing's first studio was located in Hardwick before eventually relocating to Barre.
It was in Barre where Grand Master Robert K. Decker met and trained with Twing, eventually opening up a second branch here in Newport in 1970.
As America was celebrating it's bicentennial, the Academy decided to celebrate its' roots, and the two Grand Masters changed the name of their school to Blue Wave Tae Kwon Do Association, the english translation the original school, Chung Do Kwan, where Twing had learned his craft.
A decade later the pair divided the organization into two separate groups, each retaining the Blue Wave name.
Today Grand Master Decker, although retired from active teaching, is the president of Blue Wave Tae Kwon Do International, and Master Deslandes is the head instructor at the Newport branch.
At the helm for the last four years, she has been a steady part of many of her students lives.
"We have had a lot of people come and go through here. A lot of great technicians, a lot of national champions, so it is a good branch to come and train with," said Master Deslandes, a 4th degree black belt herself.
This season has been especially successful for Blue Wave students, as you may have read in these pages, with Deslandes' students winning more than their fair share of events.
"We have gone to about four or five tournaments this year, and we've had quite a bit of success," said Deslandes with a smile.
" We've had grand champions come home with new bikes (a top prize at the tournaments), a lot of gold medals in forms and breaking. It is a lot of fun, and they (students) do well."
Miller, a recent NCUHS graduate who earned his black belt late this spring, had quite the 2011-2012 season, leaping three levels throughout the course of the year.
"In 2011 I earned my red and high red belt, which are very important belts along the way to earning your black (belt)," said Miller. "In June I got my black belt, which is a huge accomplishment for me. I am just so proud of this, it is wonderful."
Said his Mom, a high red belt herself, "It actually meant more to him than his high school graduation."
Alexandre Caillot, currently a third degree black belt who is home from school for the summer and helping out at the Academy, took his success and teachings with him to Colby College in Maine, where he is instilling the Blue Wave philosophy to his peers.
"I wanted to not only practice with other people who are familiar with this (Tae Kwon Do) and keep up myself, but I wanted to teach others both basic self defense and the whole art, and it has been quite successful" he said.
"I have done women's self defense sessions, some with campus security and also in regular classes."
While learning self defense techniques and competition are part of the experience of training with Blue Wave, it is not the only thing.
"Protocol is number one in martial arts," said Candice Allard, a sixth degree black belt and instructor at the school. "If you come in with a chip on your shoulder, there is no way (your going to make it)."
"What I hope that students take away is about what they build inside themselves. It is not about how great you kick, how great you punch, it's not how many medals you bring home, it is what you find within your self.
"When you have that self confidence, you walk away from that fight, you don't get involved, you have a higher standard for your self."
As the evenings session got underway and I was getting ready to depart, two things had become crystal clear;
First, the students and Masters I observed indeed hold themselves to that higher standard. They looked poised and confident while they went through their workout.
Secondly, it is clear that these students not only respect their teacher, they respect their peers and above all, they respect themselves.
To get a at Master Deslandes and her students in action, be at Baxter Park for Derby Line Day Aug. 11th in between 10-4 and see for yourself why the Blue Wave program is so successful, or you can call 802-673-8162 for further information.

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