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Black Belts - Kwon Bop Do Federation

I am always extremely proud, but I will always strive to guide them to seek out their true potential!

On this day of our first Blackbelt session for 2022, I find myself bursting at the seams with excitement and enthusiasm to be in the dojang with all our Blackbelts tonight. Our Blackbelt family is a big unit with a mammoth amount of knowledge and experience. We enjoy a diversity of age with dedicated members having 5 years to 35yrs + experience. So, you can see why I am pumped to train with them.

Our Blackbelt family is of such a size that it has become a martial arts system inside the Tae Kwon Do Kwon Bop Do Federation system that Grandmaster Joe Onopa always dreamed of.

It is a tough, yet privileged role to manage support, and assist so many dedicated people. What always drives me is Grandmaster Joe Onopa’s goal and dreams for his system discussed at length many times in person and via facetime before his passing, and Master Nick Donato’s relentless desire to teach, share and impart the massive wealth of martial art skills and knowledge he has studied over the years. No pressure here…. just a pure desire to guide and witness the continual triumphs these Blackbelts conquer no matter how big or small. As an instructor of more than 30years, ranks aren’t the be-all for me anymore, I am more interested in the person and their continuing journey.

Being a ‘real and active’ Black belt in this day and age is a tough gig, it is a gig that cannot be explained or understood if you haven’t taken up the challenge…put simply, it is an investment and a treasure quest of one’s self via the tools of martial arts.

Being a black belt means not only having great skills and a higher level of knowledge and strength, being a blackbelt is a mindset and a way of life. And most important of all, being a blackbelt does not only happen inside the dojo/dojang! Black belts are good leaders. They pass on their knowledge and always support others. Being a leader does not mean restricting others and telling them what to do. It’s quite the opposite. Good leaders bring out the best in the people around them and help them to make their dreams come true. As a black belt and a good leader, you want everyone to succeed and be happy. In daily life, this means being there for the people around you, for colleagues, friends, and family by supporting them in every way you can. Always remember: do good and good will come your way, too! Black belts have focus and discipline. In martial art classes, they learn to work for their goals and fight for everything they want to achieve. This attitude pays off in daily life as well. Black belts are more productive at school, work and life, even if there are rough times and setbacks.

Black belts learn to make the best out of every single day. They are going through life with an open mind, ready for surprises and changes, and appreciate all the little things. This positive mindset does not only benefit our black belts, but also the people around them. The ability to stay positive no matter what is a precious skill, learned over time to improve life in many ways!

As a blackbelt one learns to be aware of every little thing around you. You are able to listen to the problems of the people around you, not judge, and try to find solutions. It is important to offer support and be aware of other people’s ideas, values, and personalities.

Respect is one of the first skills our students learn on their way to becoming blackbelt. Everyone is special and unique and should be comfortable showing this.


Thank you to our Blackbelts for all the little things you do to support the students around you. Best wishes for a wonderful New Year of training. May you discover more wonderful things about yourself, your abilities, and the great attributes this world has in it because of you. Really, looking forward to walking alongside you on that path through your Martial Arts.



See you at the Warrior Session,

Master Ell Gatt

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