Bailee McCaffrey earns 2nd degree black belt


By Joel Charron

Bailee McCaffrey has come a long way since joining Ki Moo Gwan Martial Arts.

After the 13-year-old earned her black belt a few years ago, McCaffrey has recently upgraded her status to second-degree black belt.

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” said McCaffrey. “I didn’t think I’d be 13-years-old and have a second degree black belt.”

McCaffrey earned the honour last month while testing at Ki Koo Gwan main school in Tecumseh.

The testing consisted of patterns; self defense moves, sparring and wood breaking.

Heading into the testing McCaffrey said she felt highly confident.

“They don’t send you into this type of testing if they don’t think you can handle it,” said McCaffrey.


In just eight years, 13-year-old Bailee McCaffrey has earned her second degree black belt

McCaffrey passed with flying colours, however that wasn’t the only honour bestowed upon the young tae won do student.

McCaffrey’s instructor, Doug Butler Jr. asked McCaffrey to be an assistant instructor.

“I was surprised,” said McCaffrey. “There are so many other people he could have asked but he asked me. I feel very honored.”

Instead of going to tae won do class and learning new things, McCaffrey will be helping out the younger students on their form as well as help judge sparring matches during class and work with the white and yellow belts.

“I asked Bailee to be an assistant instructor because she is a dedicated students with a positive attitude,” said Butler. “I can always count on her when it comes to demonstrating good technique whether it be in pattern, breaking or sparring.”

The good news didn’t stop there.

McCaffrey was asked to compete in the Battle of Columbus Martial Arts Competition in Columbus, Ohio, which features all types of martial arts disciplines.

McCaffrey is the first person from Amherstburg to compete in this tournament, however she would have to undergo special training because the tournament featured contact, something McCaffrey has never experienced in a tournament before.

While at the tournament, McCaffrey admit she was a little intimidated.

“It was a lot to take in all at once and the people there were very intimidating,” she explained.

McCaffrey settled down and placed fourth in patterns and first in sparring. She said afterwards she was nervous heading into the sparring, however after watching a few matches she began to understand what the judges were looking for.

McCaffrey said she will continue to practice tae won do at Ki Moo Gwan and follow whatever path it leads her down.

“It’s already been a very interesting eight years going from not knowing what I’m doing to teaching people,” she said.

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