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Black belt comes in small size for youngster

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Colin Kark became accustomed to saying ?sir? during his four years in the U.S. Navy. Now the father of three is having to do it again as a white belt student at Robinson?s Tae Kwon Do studio. Each person who wears a black belt in the studio is addressed as ?sir? or ?mame.? That would be the two instructors, Matt and Angi McElroy, and Kark?s son Logan, who earned his on Oct. 2. Kark has no problem showing respect to the instructors, but his son is different. Logan is 8 years old. ?When I was growing up, I never said ?sir? to anyone,? Kark said. ?Now I have to say it to my son.? Logan earned respect along with his black belt in Reno at the United World Tae Kwon Do Championships. ?I really wanted my black belt,? he said. All Logan has to do now is remember how to wrap it around his waist correctly. Angi McElroy pointed out during a recent class that Logan?s belt was not tied properly. He was startled. ?Oh!? That was not the appropriate response in Tae Kwon Do. Angi McElroy asked her pupil to try again. ?Yes, mame!? ?There?s no absolutely no excuses,? said Angi McElroy, who also has to call Logan ?sir? these days. Angi McElroy pays respect to Logan because he has earned it with his dedication and determination. ?He came here at a young age, but he knew what he wanted to do,? she said. Logan?s black belt is a product of four years of attending as many as six classes a week. His father sat through many of those classes and could only wonder where his son found such determination. ?Once he tried it, he was really interested in it. He wants to come here every day,? said Kark, who has bought a kicking bag so he and his son can train together at home whenever they want. And yes, Kark has to call his son ?sir? even when they are working out in the privacy of the family?s house. Kark is quickly learning in his workouts and the classes what his son has had to endure for four years. Kark thought he was in decent shape when he attended his first class three months ago. ?I was so tired,? he said. ?It?s not easy. I can?t remember all of it. I don?t know how an 8-year-old does it.? Tae Kwon Do has captivated Kark, who never imagined the classes would become so addicting. ?It?s like coffee,? he said. ?If you stop drinking it, you get a headache.? His son may kick the habit, however. After earning his black belt, Logan is looking for a new challenge. ?I want to do something else, maybe gymnastics or soccer,? said Logan, who can lift his foot above his head when he kicks. Goalies should be forewarned.