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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Hockman on his way to becoming a martial arts master

By Carey Henson/Missourian Reader
June 11, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
Jade Hockman, training at Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas.

Carey Henson is a martial arts student of Jade Hockman's.

Having begun the road to mastership last year, Jade Hockman will join his brother Jeff Hockman as a martial arts master. He is set to earn this title upon the completion of a rigorous training program that ends in June.

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When he officially receives the title of “Master Instructor,” Hockman will be one of a small group of new masters from around the world in the American Taekwondo Association (ATA), the Songahm Taekwondo Federation (STF) and the World Traditional Taekwondo Union (WTTU), said his instructor, Master Jack Wenenn of Kansas City. The nation’s largest martial arts organization, with 1,500 schools, ATA has more than 160 masters and one Grand Master, In Ho Lee.

At the ATA World Championships in 2010, Hockman tested for his Sixth Degree Black Belt, won a gold medal in sparring, which earned him the title World Champion, and was invited to join the list of potential candidates. “My journey to mastership has been very rewarding and I look forward to taking on the responsibility as a Songahm Master.”

The ATA only invites about 20 candidates annually for mastership world-wide, Wenenn said.  In addition to earning a minimum rank of 6th degree black belt, candidates must be currently training a minimum of 500 students per month, must have trained many junior instructors who are currently teaching in their own schools, and must be good role models for their students, family and community.

“I’m thrilled for him; Mr. Hockman was one of my very first students in 1986, one of my very first black belts, my second student to reach 6th degree, and he is now poised to be my second student to achieve the title of master,” Wenenn said. “I always knew he would be some sort of ATA leader, and I knew in my heart that he would hold the title of Master Instructor someday.”

Hockman must carry out a series of demanding assignments designed to improve his mind and body, building on his 26 years of experience in the martial arts. It usually takes about 20 years of continuous training, Wenenn said, before one becomes a master candidate.

Three times a week for the past year, Hockman has run 2 miles, performed up to 500 kicks, 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups and meditated for 20 minutes. He has refreshed his knowledge of all the learned material in the Songahm Taekwondo program from White Belt through Sixth Degree Black belt — 16 different sets of learned forms, weapons skills and self-defense maneuvers. 

He has also worked to develop his mind.  Each month, he has read one assigned book and written an abstract to summarize its main points. He has also written several nine-page compositions on topics such as Vision, Knowledge, Humility and Loyalty.

In addition, he has participated in rigorous extra training sessions every few months with other master candidates in Cancun, Mexico, Orlando, Fla., Las Vegas, N.V.; and June in Little Rock, Ark. In Las Vegas, the master candidates trained and climbed in Red Rock Canyon. In Little Rock, the training will include a nine-day fast.

“It is a truly humbling experience; it is the most honored title anyone could hold,” Wenenn said. “By accepting the mantel of mastership, Mr. Hockman will be asked to represent the ATA and its affiliated organizations for the rest of his life.”

A long-time leader in the local martial arts community, Hockman and his brother, Jeff, have mentored a long list of junior instructors in central Missouri. Their three schools in Columbia form a core of about 10 in Missouri that are now run by former students. Since opening in November 1994, he has taught the ancient Korean martial art of Taekwondo to more than 2,500 students and has developed more than 500 Black Belts.

The Hockmans strive to lead not only in the martial arts community, but in the community in general. They have held many free bully prevention, child abduction awareness, and women’s self-defense seminars. They also committed to raise $25,000 to fund a nursing station for the Columbia Children’s Hospital.

“As a master, you represent the organization as much as your individual school,” Hockman said. “You become an ambassador for the American Taekwondo Association.”

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.