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CKD Martial Art & Self Defense

Mr. Fasmer stands for the first time in 5 years to receive his black belt

Posted: December 10, 2018

Humility, Honesty, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, and Unbreakable Spirit are the Principles of Choi Kwang Do. They inspire people all over the world to reach down into themselves and be the very best they can be. These principles are also the life principles of one Cristian Fasmer, the first physically challenged Choi Kwang Do Black belt in the world. On February 18th , 2006 , just six years after a debilitating accident claimed the use of his legs, with a dojang full of family and friends looking on, Cristian earned the right to wear the martial arts world's most coveted prize. Born in Colombia, S.A. in 1976, the only son of his mother Marina, Cristian grew up like any other South American youth. His mother tells of a normal, uneventful youth, with very little hint of the character waiting to emerge. At the age of 19 Cristian joined the Columbia Army (much to his mother's dismay and worry) and spent 3 ½ years protecting his country in savage fighting against anti-government Guerrillas. Shortly after his discharge from the Army on November 15, 2000, while hiking with friends Cristian missed his footing and fell from a 12 foot bridge. He fell straight down striking his head on a concrete beam, and then continued to fall to the ground striking his back. After 25 days in a severe coma Cristian was diagnosed as a paraplegic with brain damage. Upon awakening, his doctors told him he was paralyzed in the T6 & T7 Spine Region, from his waist down. Cristian's mother, Marina Wickham (CKD-Clearwater Asst. Instructor) quickly left her new home with her husband Christopher Wickham in the United States and went to her son's side, remaining with him for 3 months helping, encouraging and nurturing him through the ordeal. Shortly thereafter, Marina brought Cristian to live with her in the United States so she could better assist in his care and treatment. As Cristian attempted to make sense of his radically altered life, he would accompany his mother to CKD Clearwater while she trained and taught class. It wasn't long before Shelly Elrod (co-owner CKD Clearwater) asked Marina and Cristian if they had ever considered Choi Kwang Do training to help build his confidence, strength and agility. In June of 2002 After some coaxing from his mother and a bit of arm twisting from Miss Shelly, Cristian began private classes with Shelly's husband Chief Instructor, Steve Elrod, to help increase his equilibrium and self esteem. Both Cristian and Mr. Elrod remember the beginning as being very hard for them both. In addition to physical barriers they had cultural and language barriers to overcome as well. At one point Mr. Elrod had to develop special hand signals in order to direct Cristian's training. In fact, as Cristian confides, it was many years before he started to believe that he would really be able to earn his black belt. Even with all the encouragement he was getting from his family, friends and instructors it wasn't until he started to really believe that HE could do it that things began to fall into place. After just one year of private training Cristian had gained enough confidence to enter regular adult classes and was warmly received by the other students.The rest is Choi Kwang Do history! Not only has Cristian earned a black belt while strengthening his body, but he has gained back his independence. Employed by a local medical supply firm in Clearwater, Florida Cristian drives his own car (specially fitted for him) and can be seen tooling around town or pulling up in front of the dojang to train 2-3 time a week. He has even been known to take his chair and a pretty girl out for a whirl on the dance floor! He isn't sitting on his past accomplishments though, In addition to learning his next pattern he astounded those in attendance at his black belt ceremony by actually standing up on his own ,,, a major event that he had never attempted in public before. In short, Cristian Fasmer epitomizes the "Certain Victory" essence of Choi Kwang Do and defines what Grandmaster Choi intended when he created this powerful, multifaceted system of health and self defense. We salute you Cristian. Well done Sir, PIL SUNG! Andrew M. Rasmussen 

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