With the graduation of their first two Taekwondo black belts on April 20, the Boundary Martial Arts Club (BMAC) has passed a major milestone.
Sixty-seven-year-old Vlodko Barchuk from Rock Creek and 15-year-old Kari Durban of Greenwood were both successful at attaining their first degree black belt in Abbotsford.
BMAC senior instructor Bo Macfarlane achieved his third degree black belt at the same testing. Grand Master Lee, ninth degree black belt, tested the trio.
“Learning martial arts self-defense skills is the least important focus of our club,” said Barchuk, who volunteers his time as assistant instructor at the club. “Our emphasis is on self-awareness and respect, respect to parents and elders and to each other. There is also a major component of respecting our nation. Our reward as leaders is watching our students grow and develop these attributes that positively contribute to all aspects of their lives, now and into the future.”
Macfarlane agrees. “We are trying to teach what the martial arts are not just about kicking and punching but to help us become the best we can be, both on the training floor and off of it. That being said, Taekwondo is a very effective form of self-defense, physical fitness, and it’s a ton of fun.”
Macfarlane is an elementary school principal in Osoyoos and previously was principal of West Boundary Elementary School (WBES). Barchuk is a semi-retired social worker with many years of experience working in child and adolescent mental health.
“I am most proud that we do this as a community service,” Macfarlane explained. “It’s an honour to give a little something back to this amazing community.”
Now in its sixth year, the club has 28 registered students. For the past two years BMAC has not charged a fee for membership and where possible assists students in purchasing their uniforms and paying for their rank advancement testing. Barchuk said the club has been generously supported by a grant-in-aid from Area E Rural Director Bill Baird and the Kettle Valley Recreation Commission.
Master Lee travels to Rock Creek to test students for rank advancement, which is recorded and registered with the World Taekwondo Federation. Master Lee has generously reduced his normal testing fee.
This June BMAC is planning a free three-session seminar covering self-avoidance of dangerous situations and basic self-defense techniques. It’s a hands-on event for mothers and daughters. The series will be presented in collaboration with RCMP. BMAC female Taekwondo students will teach the class with the support of Macfarlane and Barchuk. The club will post notices as details are firmed up.
The club holds classes at WBES on Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5 to 6 p.m.
Boundary Martial Arts Club welcomes anyone from the community from ages six and up. New members are always welcome. For more information contact Macfarlane at 250-446-2846 or Barchuk at 250-449-8404.