Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

May 1, 2014

Jennifer Hardy obtains the rank of fourth-degree black belt

VALDOSTA — Earlier this week Mitchell Church, chief insturctor of Performance Martial Arts Academy received official notification of his student Jennifer Hardy’s success at American Taekwondo Association headquarters in Anaheim, Calif. — Hardy has met the requirements for rank advancement to a fourth-degree black belt.

Church received word from the Master’s Council after the Grandmaster In Ho Lee signed her certificate. Hardy tested for fourth-degree black belt in March at the Spring National Championships.

“I haven’t worried about whether she had passed or not,” Church said. “I had received calls from several of the masters about her strong demonstration of skill after her testing. Achieving the rank of fourth-degree positions Ms. Hardy as an expert martial artist.

“She is a true asset to our school and this community.” 

Rank testing involves demonstration of the traditional form, mastery of a weapon of choice (Hardy chose the midrange staff), sparring of several rounds and board breaking techniques.

Hardy also had to pass a fitness test of stamina prior to her testing. 

“The experience can be quite intimidating,” Church said. “You are demonstrating your skills in front of a table of high ranking sixth, seventh, and eighth degree black belts who are carefully watching every move you make.”

Jennifer Hardy first joined Performance Martial Arts Academy in 2001, and just four years later she received her first degree black belt. Hardy earned her second-degree black belt in 2007 and reached her third-degree black belt in 2010. 

“Very few people ever achieve this rank,” Church said. “Hardy is his fourth student to achieve this level. This is a big deal and we are very proud of her.”

Hardy is a multiple time Georgia State Champion and has been a Top Ten finalist in the world class standings. She is currently ranked in the World Standings for sparring and combat weapons.

When asked about her goals for the future Hardy said, “To change as many lives as possible through Taekwondo.”

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