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Duenas earns black belt in Taekwon Do

By Staff | Jul 8, 2010

Ryan Duenas trained for a year to prepare for his black belt test.

LAHAINA — It has been quite an eventful year for Lahaina’s Ryan Duenas.

About a month ago, the 17-year-old son of Marlene and Ronald Duenas of Lahaina graduated from Lahainaluna High School with the Class of 2010.

Then, three weeks ago, young Duenas passed the examination for the rank of first-degree black belt in the Korean martial art of Taekwon Do.

A practicing member of Casco’s Taekwon Do in Lahaina for six years, Duenas took the test on June 16 at Lahaina Civic Center before an examination board consisting of Chief Instructor Randy Casco (Sixth Dan, or sixth-degree black belt), Kevin Spencer (Fifth Dan), Wayne Cochran (Second Dan) and Ronald Balagso (Second Dan).

The examination, which took over an hour to complete, included a long series of basic kicking, punching and blocking techniques; three advanced patterns; free sparring and self-defense techniques; and board breaking.

“There was a lot of kicking techniques, including combination and flying kicks that required extra balance,” explained Duenas. “I got a little tired at times, but was able to regroup and carry through.

“This feels great, and this past year of intense preparation for the test came through for me. Mr. Cochran and Mr. Casco really got me ready and in shape for the test. Now I want to keep on training hard and try for my second degree (black belt ranking), and Mr. Casco has plans for a class at the Kahana Sports Club that I might be able to help out with.”

As for his post-high school plans, Duenas hopes to work here on the West Side for about a year and then sign on with the Air Force.