A dozen spirited Beaver Valley martial artists kicked it up at the Kees Tae Kwon Do Tournament in Lake Country earlier this month.
The tournament welcomed close to 200 students from around the Kootenays and Okanagan, and gave Fruitvale’s Heart and Soul Tae Kwon Do (TKD) students an opportunity to test their skills. By the end of it, every athlete from Heart and Soul TKD mounted the podium at the annual martial arts contest.
“They did really well,” said Heart and Soul TKD instructor Master Jakki Van Hemert. “These tournaments are meant to be fun so it usually is pretty fair, and all-in-all they did really well. For a lot of them it was their first tournament, so it was really good to see them do so well.”
The event consisted of five disciplines and included High Kick, Flying Side Kick, Board Breaking, Sparring, and Poomse or forms where athletes perform a series of moves that encompass direction, pattern, stance, and technique.
The tournament saw some Heart and Soul TKD students compete for the first time and select two or three of the five disciplines, while seasoned competitors like Tim and Billy Johnson and Riley Russell competed in all of the events.
“It’s definitely a learning experience,” said Master Jakki. “Some life lessons on fairness, some life lessons in general learned.”
The athletes trained hard for the tournament and their dedication paid off with over 30 top-three results, while Master Jakki and other instructors performed a multifaceted role.
“My role and some of the other black belts is to make sure all the athletes have a coach, especially when it comes to sparring, it’s good to have a coach in every corner,” said Master Jakki, who kept the team organized and helped out with the judging as well.
Heart and Soul Tae Kwon Do offers instruction in the traditional Korean martial arts of Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido, focusing on practical techniques and selfdefense while building whole body conditioning.
Master Jakki began training in tae kwon do about 20 years ago and is a fifth-degree black belt. Her interest in Hapkido emerged not long after, and she has studied the art since 2001, earning a third-degree black belt under Grand Master Sang Ki Lee while in South Korea.
The results speak for themselves:
Emily Sneddon, age seven, came first in Poomse and third in board-breaking;
Taylor Yonin, 8, finished first in High Kick, second in Poomse and board-breaking, and third in Sparring;
Andrew Tite, 10, took first in Poomse, second in board-breaking and sparring, and fourth in Flying Side Kick;
Mason Weatherford, 10, grabbed second in Poomse, and third in board-breaking and sparring;
Caidie Macready, 11, came second in Poomse and Sparring;
Anna Shin, 12, came third in Poomse;
Tim Johnson, 13, won the High Kick and Sparring, and came second in Poomse and board-breaking;
Marcus Aspell, 13, claimed second in board-breaking, third in High Kick and Poomse and fourth in Sparring;
Billy Johnson, 14, finished second in Poomse, High Kick, and Sparring, third in board-breaking, and fourth in Flying Side kick;
Kobe Wandler, 15, won first in board-breaking, came second in Poomse, and third in Sparring;
Riley Russell, 18, took top spot in High Kick and board-breaking, second in sparring and Poomse;
Norm Macready finished third in sparring and fourth in Poomse.