Fruitvale martial artists gave their Heart and Soul at the Kee’s Invitational Tae Kwon Do Tournament last week, bringing home a treasure trove of medals.
A small but potent contingent of 10 Heart and Soul Tae Kwon Do students competed at the annual event that welcomes martial artists from across southern B.C.
“This year saw one of the biggest turnouts yet with over 150 competitors,” said Heart and Soul’s Master Jakki Van Hemert. “Once again the students did great and took home a pile of medals in their age and rank groupings.”
The tournament 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. Many competed in all the disciplines while others chose a smaller selection.
Last year, a slightly larger group of Heart and Soul competitors finished with just over 30 medals, and this year the team was not far behind, picking up 25 podium finishes.
Nine-year-old Taylor Yonin (purple belt) led the way with five medals picking up gold in poomse and board breaking, silver in sparring, and bronze in high kick and flying-side kick.
Hope Watson, 11, (yellow belt) took home a pair of gold medals in board-breaking and sparring.
Bill Johnson, 15, (brown belt) captured two gold in flying side kick and sparring, silver in high kick, and bronze in poomse. Kobe Wandler, 16, earned gold in board-breaking, silver in poomse and flying side kick, and bronze in sparring.
Riley Russell, 19, (2nd Dan) topped the podium in both board-breaking and high kick, while 14-year-old Marcus Aspell (Red belt) won gold in high kick and silver in board-breaking.
Mason Weatherford, 11, (Red belt) captured gold in poomse and bronze in board-breaking.
Seven-year-old Lucas Nichol (blue belt) won silver in poomse and bronze in board-breaking, and Payten Brown, also seven, (purple) earned bronze in poomse and high kick.
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. For more info. call 921-9090.