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Estacada Tae Kwon Do student earns black belt

Classes began this week, still time to join Community School martial arts
by: Contributed photo, Jessie Ellington (front row, left) recently earned her black belt under Tae Kwon Do instructor John Kirkpatrick (back row, left). Here she is also pictured with Jesse Chester and Dianne Kirkpatrick.

The first Estacada Community School Tae Kwon Do student to reach the black belt in the last four years earned her expert status in March.

Redland resident Jessie Ellington is a 16-year-old Gladstone High School junior. She's been doing non-contact Tae Kwon Do for five years.

To receive the first-degree black belt, Ellington had to perform a series of moves called a 'Hyung,' break three boards and spar one-on-one and three-on-one with other students. About the Hyung, she said, 'It's almost like you're fighting an imaginary opponent, or more than one.'

Ellington began her martial arts training five years ago because her mother wanted her to get some exercise and learn self-defense. Now, she assists her instructor at training sessions and doesn't dream of quitting.

The new black belt is John Kirkpatrick's student. Kirkpatrick is a fourth-degree black belt affiliated with Kim's Tae Kwon Do, overseen by Grand Master Hong Sik Kim.

'We sure are proud of [Ellington]. She has a lot of potential,' said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick teaches beginner and intermediate and advanced classes in the Rivermill Elementary School cafeteria on Mondays. The beginner class starts at 5:30 p.m. The intermediate and advanced class begins at 6:30 p.m. The first class was this Monday, but there is still time to join. Call 503-630-8523.