Competing in taekwondo since age 8, Meadowdale High School senior Jameson Jones recently reached an important milestone, testing for and earning his fourth-degree black belt in the sport. This achievement has made Jones the youngest master level instructor at Lynnwood-based Y.S. Lee Martial Arts, where he trains.
Earning a first-degree black belt is no easy feat, let alone a fourth-degree black belt. Jameson has been working toward this goal for almost 10 years.
There are minimum waiting periods between belt promotions. Jameson had to allow two months each between his white, yellow, orange and green belts; he had to wait four months between his blue and purple belts; six months between his brown and red belts; and had to be danbo for one year before being eligible to test for his first-degree black belt. Danbo is best explained as a probationary black belt, or a black belt candidate.
He began at Y.S. Lee in February 2012. His mother, Allison Jones, said she decided to register both Jameson and his brother Colin for classes to give them structure and a chance to burn off some energy.
“I asked [Jameson] if he wanted to give it a try,” Allison said. “I still remember his little shoulder shrug and his, ‘Sure, why not?’ response. Very quickly, it was obvious that he had an aptitude for taekwondo.”
Within two months, Jameson was eligible to test for his first belt promotion, and he earned the highest score of all the children testing for promotions that day. After that, he tested for promotions every time he was eligible, quickly becoming enthralled with the sport.
“Once Jameson was hooked,” said Allison, “he was determined to hit every testing date and had a list of the dates to keep himself on track.”
Jones continued to receive high-score medals throughout his belt promotions, all the way up to his first-degree black belt, which he earned in June 2015. Along with having to perform multiple combinations, kicks, board breaks and taekwondo forms, Jameson also had to write a reflection paper on his journey through the sport so far, as well as write about what being a black belt meant to him. He passed with flying colors.
Seeing Jameson’s love and dedication for taekwondo, Allison decided to make it a family affair, registering both herself and her youngest son Nolan, who was 4 at the time, for classes as well.
Jameson received his second-degree black belt in December 2016 and his third-degree black belt in December 2018.
Becoming a fourth-degree black belt has been Jameson’s goal for almost seven of the 10 years he’s been doing taekwondo. He said he loves that the sport allows him to set up achievable goals.
“Knowing that I set this goal for myself when I was 12 years old,” he said, “makes it so surreal and just makes me love what taekwondo is even more. It represents so many core values in my life and it is very humbling to imagine how I would be if I never started.”
Allison Jones reflected on how hard these past two pandemic years have been not only for Jameson, but for the whole family as they have had to train virtually.
“We continued our training via Zoom for more than a year and Jameson spent time training on his own to get to the level he wanted to be,” Allison said. “He never lost sight of his goal. As a mom, I’m so incredibly proud of my son. This test was a great culmination of nearly 10 years of hard work and dedication, and a great level of perseverance.”
Jameson is now the youngest master level instructor at Y.S. Lee, with an age gap of over 25 years between him and the second youngest.
Along with his taekwondo accomplishments, Jameson also plays the French horn in the Meadowdale High School band, is a varsity athlete for both cross country and track, and will graduate this spring with a 3.7 GPA.
— By Lauren Reichenbach