PORT HAWKESBURY: Garnering a black belt requires years of practice, training, discipline, proper diet, and devotion. Kempie Larade has seven of them.
“This was a big day,” an exhausted Larade told The Reporter just after finishing his black belt exam last Saturday. “This is the last one you can do with your friends and family. An eighth dan is tested for in Korea.
“Being here with everyone meant a lot to me. We trained hard for it.”
Larade prepared himself for the exam with the assistance of Dobson Boudreau, a second degree black belt leading sessions at Larade Tae Kwon Do in Arichat. Boudreau served a key role in the Saturday exam, as he spared with Larade, assisted with board breaks, and moved with Larade during self-defense drills.
Evaluating the exam was Bob White, a Tae Kwon Do Master from Dartmouth. White is the top man in Atlantic Canada for Chong Lee Tae Kwon Do, the school under which Larade Tae Kwon Do operates.
Training for the exam took several months of effort, Larade said.
“We did a lot of kicking and a lot of cardio, trying to get the wind up,” he said. “I’m still sparing a bit.
“I’m a little surprised the exam went so well.”
The exam, taking place at Larade’s Port Hawkesbury dojang (2 MacIntosh Ave), had Larade display a number of strikes, forms (preset moves), board breaks, and self-defense techniques. He also spared.
Master White said he was impressed with Larade’s exam.
“I’ve been doing Tae Kwon Do for approximately 40 years, and Master Larade has been doing it for approximately 32 years,” he said. “We were skinny kids when we started, and now we’re not.
“His breaking was very good, his self-defense was very, very good. He has lots of control in the self-defense. It’s not just about kicking; it’s about having control of the situation. His basic movements were excellent.”
White noted that a large number of former Tae Kwon Do students came out for the exam. Indeed, the dojang was pretty cramped with well-wishers and those supporting Master Larade.
“He’s been here in this community teaching for a long time, both here and in St. Peter’s, and I think the area is very lucky to have someone as interested in teaching.”