Master Ron is now Grand Master Ron
Opening speech from Master Peter
It is a great honour to have been asked to introduce master Ron Claassens to you. This grading today is the culmination of a lifetime of martial arts training and teaching. Over 35 years of blood, sweat and tears, often somebody else’s, have led up to today’s event. 7th Dan is a level I’m sure Master Ron never thought he’d achieve when he started his martial arts journey under Sensei Merv Oakley, learning Goju Kai karate as a teenager. In fact, Master Ron never thought he’d achieve yellow belt as gradings were held so rarely and were so tough, it took three years of perseverance and indomitable spirit to move off white belt.
This indomitable spirit and perseverance is the foundation upon which Master Ron grew as a martial artist, and his example of these qualities throughout all aspects of his life and martial arts is what makes him such a great leader.
There are many very experienced martial artists in this dojang, and many would agree that as an instructor, Master Ron’s integrity is second to none. He sets the standard in our club, no one else, and we’ve all spent years of training striving to achieve this.
Master Ron doesn’t teach anything he hasn’t mastered and tested, there is no bullshido in his classes, he tries his utmost to guide us on our martial arts journey, to be the best black belts we can be, without compromise and without lowering our high standards. He actively cultivates courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control and indomitable spirit through his words, his actions, his example.
Along with Master Anne, he has created an environment here at Empower within the IMT where we can strive for perfection, where we can achieve our potential, where we can be better black belts, better martial artists, better human beings.
On a personal note, I have known Master Ron since I was a kid. I trained with another club but he was often present helping officiate at tournaments and I remember a video of his 2nd Dan grading being shown at a camp as an example of what we should aspire to. I met him again as an adult, on a training tour to Korea and was again impressed by his attitude to martial arts and to life.
When I came to the IMT nine years ago, I was welcomed wholeheartedly by the club with Master Ron at the helm. He taught me about making my techniques work more effectively, he mentored me as a fledgling instructor and perhaps most importantly, he became a great friend who along with Master Anne has stood side by side through much of my professional life.
Today is a special day, an historic day. It is with great pride that as a director of the IMT, I present to you the candidate for today’s grading, master Ron Claassens, director and chief instructor of the Institute of Modern Tae Kwon Do.
Written by Master Peter as the introduction to my Dan Assessment. I am very humbled Master Peter.
Grand Master Ron