By Pat Christman
The Free Press
---- — During warm ups before testing for his second degree black belt Saturday Tanner Winkler, the 9-year-old son of Lee's Champion Tae Kwon Do studio owner Colby Winkler, kicked a heavy bag and fell hard to the mat. He went back to the line where his father was also warming up and began to cry.
After a word, and a hug, from his dad he ran off to the back of the studio for a moment. When he returned he went to the front of the line and kicked the bag again. This time he didn't fall.
Nor did he fall during the rest of his testing for his second degree black belt. Tanner demonstrated to the judges, which included studio founder Grand Master Yong Hyeok Lee, the crowd and his father that tae kwon do isn't about never falling, but getting back up again.
It's one of the many lessons Colby Winkler hopes to pass on to his students, which include all three of his children.
"He's always been self reliant," the elder Winkler said. "Tanner's always been the kid that's trying the hardest."
Colby Winkler was trying his hardest on Saturday as well, testing side by side with his son to test to a sixth degree black belt. His hope, like the hope of many fathers, is that Tanner will follow in his footsteps and continue learning tae kwon do.
"When I started at age 5, the martial arts school was always somewhere I could go. It was my rock. I want that for my kids," Winkler said.
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