Every year, around the end of summer, our Dojang conducts Annual Black Belt Testing. This is one of, if not the biggest event in our schools's calendar year. Black Belt Testing signifies everything that is taught through Martial Arts and displays the many years of hard work, commitment, and sacrifice made by all of its participants.
This year's testing features five of our prominent adult students seeking high rank of 4th and 5th Degree Black Belt. These men, each with over two decades of experience, make up the very
fabric and core of our Dojang. Varying in age, each student seeking promotion has overcome many individual obstacles showing the highest levels of dedication to Taekwondo over many
Black Belt Testing should be attended by all students. This day is particularly important to any one training in the martial arts to see not only what is expected of our high belts but also, what is possible by not compromising any standards. Students as well as friends and family should make this evening (Friday - August 7 - 6pm) a priority to come support their
fellow classmates and instructors.
Brief biographies are provided below, we look forward to seeing everyone at Testing.
Mr. Jason Napier (44): Mr. Napier has been training with Grand Master Ameris since 1984, previously practicing and competing in Judo.
Jason has been working in Law Enforcement for over two decades, currently serving as Detective for the City of Lower Burrell. Mr. Napier also serves as a Police Defense Tactics Instructor for Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Municipal Police Academy.
Jason is Grand Master Ameris' longest tenured active student and is among one of the first to earn the rank of Black Belt. Mr. Napier's family has also shown an affinity for the Martial Arts - his wife, Michelle, has participated in the Fit 2 Fight Conditioning Program and two sons Shane (10) and Ty (6) have come through the Panther's ranks.
Mr. Ed Bartosiewicz (63): After taking his two sons to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lucas and Matt insisted on learning "karate". Then after some encouragement from Master Randy Misketch (Se Jong TKD), Ed joined his boys and has been climbing the ranks since 1989. Mr.
Bartosiewicz tested for Black Belt in 1997 under Father Connolley (Se Jong TKD).
Ed began training with Grand Master Ameris in 2001, sharing their Taekwondo roots with FatherConnolley and Se Jong. Ed earned his 4th Degree Black Belt from Grand Master Ameris in 2009.
Now grown men, both of Ed's sons have earned Black Belts in Se Jong Taekwondo. Ed's dedication is displayed each week as he assists with children's classes and describes Taekwondo as "the best thing he's ever done".
Mr. Dave Kalina (64): Nearly 20 years ago, Dave Kalina started Taekwondo by happenstance. Initially brining his son to classes to encourage an active lifestyle, Mr. Kalina decided that it would be more productive to participate instead of simply waiting for his son's lesson to
When Dave started Taekwondo, he was a self proclaimed "couch potato" that did nothing after work, ate too much for dinner, and sat in front of the TV - Dave found himself at age 45, upwards of 60 pounds heavier than age 35.
Since that time, Mr. Kalina has developed a love for Taekwondo that is displayed through his weekly efforts assisting classes for both children and adults. Under Grand Master Ameris' mentoring, Dave attributes Taekwondo to helping him grow as a person and gain back some of the vitality he previously lost.
Dr. Denny Tang (43): Dr. Tang is a Colorectal and General Surgeon with an extensive background in several forms of Martial Arts. During Medical school and through residency, Denny started training in both Kenpo and Taekwondo upwards of six times per week. Dr. Tang's dedication eventually earned him a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate, in addition to working his way towards a brown belt in Cacoy Doces Pares (Filipino Stick Fighting).
Dr. Tang began training with Grand Master Ameris in 2006 and eventually met his wife, Janelle (1st Degree Black Belt) at our Dojang. Together, they have three children. Denny enjoys the variety of boxing, self defense, grappling, and competition style fighting Grand Master Ameris teaches.
Nico Stoian (45): Mr. Nico Stoian started training Shotokan Karate at age 17 in his native country of Romania. During this time political unrest made Martial Arts training illegal, forcing Nico to put his training on hold until after military service. Nico resumed training Taekwondo in 2003 and earned his Black Belt in 2006.
After earning his 2nd Degree Black Belt, Mr. Stoian focused his energy towards opening a school of his own. After stumbling upon some videos of Grand Master Cho's Taekwondo on YouTube, Nico joined the AIMAA in 2009.
Mr. Stoian takes great pride in the many challenges Martial Arts training offers, but most enjoys passing on the traditions of Taekwondo to his students - as they serve as a major source of motivation in own development. Nico is married with two children and puts his family above all else. Mr. Stoian's goal as a Martial Artist is to continue to be a student of Taekwondo and pass on its many benefits to his students, so they may do the same.