The 2016 ”Students of the Year” are C. Craig-Mellentin (Blue belt) and T. Truong (Blue belt) .
This year I decided not to give the award to a Black belt because the whole point of the award was to recognise the efforts of student who I think has worked hard and might not think I have noticed them.
C. Craig-Mellentin started taekwondo because her friend dragged her along for the company. She seemed like she had never heard of martial arts before, was very shy and awkward and seemed like she could not wait to go home after each class. When her friend who dragged her to classes stopped training, I thought Charlotte would stop too and would probably celebrate by burning her taekwondo uniform but I was very surprised she continued training in Taekwondo without her friend. She soon got more confident as won tournaments and is a completely different person from the young shy, introvert girl who started not long ago. I don’t know what’s brought about the new confident, tall, and proud Charlotte as I know I have given her a hard time in class, but I cannot remember the last time I have had cause to pick on her.
T. Truong, like Charlotte, was one of those student you would bet, would not last long in Taekwondo training. He is a clown, waiting for his pink belt and opposite to everything you expect from a martial artist. There have been a few times I have been tempted to kick him out of the class for various reasons, but I grudgingly must accept that he is an “Ok” guy and “OK” martial artist. I cannot praise him too much as he is already arrogant, cocky, loud etc and simply making him “student of the year” will make him louder but I am very proud of him too.
Thanhsan is also intelligent, fun, popular, and very mature for is age. He enjoys his Taekwondo and his laid back attitude hides the fact he is a skilled all-rounder for his grade. He is the only person I know to deliberately use a tornado (360 turning) kick in points sparring. And he does my Tie for me at gradings.
I hope they both train to become Black belts, but for now I am very proud of both for what they have achieved so far and how they have grown since they have started Taekwondo. NLTKD will be a less without them.
Both branches are very active and the standards are high, so I cannot mention everyone who also deserve a mention, but I need to say to both Dexter (Green belt) and Vlad (Red belt) that I am watching you guys and hope 2017 will be your year.
Ps: sorry for posting this late
The NLTKD 2015 Students of the Year was decided by the GTI when they awarded Catherine Henyanto and Oliver Charles the GTI Black Belt Competitor of the year 2014-2015 in both the Girls and Boys division respectively . see http://www.nltkd.com/news/gti-competitor-of-the-year-2014-2015-results/ for details