Trevor Bailey knows something about hard work and discipline.

He just recently acquired his black belt at a ceremony held Aug. 13 after six-and-a-half years of training.

Rich Seavert, the head instructor, said that is right in line with the average. Bailey became interested in the class after his daughter took a Tae Kwon Do summer recreation class about seven years ago. He initially got involved after she took her first test. Tae Kwon Do, or TKD, is a Korean martial art which translates as “way of the hand and foot.”

“My long-term goals were that I wanted to get to a green belt and break a board,” said Bailey.

As it stands now, just through testing for new ranks he’s already broken 18 boards with three yet to go in order to finish testing.

“I just climbed the rungs one at a time and kept going to the next level,” said Bailey. “At 52 years old, I’m one of the older ones who has started later in life but still achieved the belt… there are others.”

He cites how training is great exercise and is both physical and mental in discipline while also including a lot of self-defense aspects; body control is a big key.

“Self-control is one of our core tenets,” Bailey said, adding a few years ago he also took up downhill skiing.

Bailey credits being physically active and the discipline he gained as being the confidence builders that allowed him to try new sports he’d never quite had the courage to try before.

“Yes I can still do this, I realized as I continued to climb to each new step. Each was something new for me, but I just kept going,” Bailey said. “I have incredible gratitude to Mr. Seavert and Mr. Hoecke for helping me get ready for my black belt test.”

Seavert mentioned before the awards ceremony that there are no second chances for obtaining the black belt. When testing for other belts, an artist gets three tries to meet a requirement, such as breaking a board.

At the black belt level, they only get one shot; failure means they must come back and attempt the tests all over again.

The Redwood Falls TKD gym is part of a larger district, and Redwood Falls hosts one of the annual tournaments, an open tournament held in March at the Redwood Area Community Center. It hosts nearly a dozen TKD schools during that event.

“Sometimes their forms cross disciplines into karate and Kung Fu, which makes things very interesting,” Bailey said.

The tournaments include forms – or sets – of moves carried out against an imaginary opponent, board breaking and sparring. The Redwood TKD school also hosts regular classes for self-defense, and the classes are always open to the public.

“Earning my black belt does not mean I have graduated,” Bailey said. “In many ways, I’m just at the threshold. I’m at the beginning of a greater journey in many ways. This really is a lifelong journey.”