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Mother-son pairs train, test as one

Mother-son duos: Those testing for their black belts are, from left, Cameron Kerns, Krischal Lindsay, Jack Pace and Joni Pace, along with their instructor Master Lucas Holzhueter. DL NEWSPAPERS/Kristin Miller

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - Proving their skill in one of the most popular martial arts, two local moms and their sons recently earned one of the highest honors Tae Kwon Do has to offer.

Krischal Lindsay and her son Cameron Kerns, and Joni and Jack Pace all participated in a four hour long test on May 16. Three of the four were awarded their full black belts, while Jack, age nine, earned his junior black belt.

“It’s unique to see families test together like this,” said Master Lucas Holzhueter, owner and head instructor at the Detroit Lakes School of Tae Kwon Do and Kumdo, where the group trains.

The four stand out among the more than 100 students who train in Holzhueter’s school, and say that working together has only made them stronger.

While parents are usually the ones to assume a teaching role in their kids’ lives, for Krischal and Cameron, the opposite has happened.

“He actually taught me,” Krischal said.

Cameron, now 14, has been studying Tae Kwon Do since he was 9, beginning his training a few years before the others, giving him a slight leg up. Krischal, Joni and Jack all began their training together in September of 2010.

Krischal, a single mom, said that making time for all the training is tough, but is worth it. It gives both moms and their sons something to do together, and a passion to hold in common.

Joni agreed, and said that training together has given them a great support system as they work towards each new goal.

Her son, Jack said he likes Tae Kwon Do for learning self-defense, and also enjoys getting to train with mom.

Last month’s test was a challenge for the group, but Joni said that it was “a great way to show everything we’ve learned.”

During the four-hour test, they each had to preform about 15 board-breaks, and persistence was key in earning their black belt distinction.

“I probably had to try about 40,” Krischal said with a laugh.

When asked what their plans are for continuing their training, Cameron jumped right in to say that they’d definitely keep going, working towards even higher degrees.

“It takes about two years,” he said of moving up to the next level.

In the meantime, both Cameron and Jack will be competing this summer at national championships in San Jose, Calif. They each placed first in the state for their respective divisions, which are determined based on age, rank and weight.

To prepare for the tournament, Cameron plans on putting in four extra hours each week in training. Jack will train an extra two hours each week until the tournament, which takes place over the Fourth of July weekend.

The extra training will be more intense than regular lessons, helping the boys to get ready for competition, which could include up to 50 participants in each division.

Holzhueter said that the sport has the unique quality of appealing to participants of all different ages. He has seen brothers and sisters, parents and children, even grandparents and grandchildren from the same family train together.

Still, Joni, Jack, Krischal and Cameron have set themselves apart by training together over the last three and half years and for taking all of their tests at the same time.

Going forward, the support and encouragement the group gets from each other will keep them going. That support, which would be strong even if they weren’t all in training at the same time, has been made all the more meaningful by the time they’ve spent learning together.

“We’re cheering each other on,” Joni said, “And not just from the sidelines.”