The Koreans may have invented Taekwondo, but Silver City competitors drew a crowd in the Cominco Arena Gymnasium Saturday.
Over 200 spectators filled the gymnasium to watch the annual Trail Taekwon-do Championships 2012, traveling from all corners of the province. Some even traveled to the regional championship all the way from Camrose, Alberta.
Taekwondo has earned a distinct reputation in the martial arts world because of special emphasis placed on several kicking techniques. As far as martial arts go, it’s widely understood by practitioners that the leg is the strongest weapon one can use and it’s often utilized to execute powerful strikes on components.
But it’s not all about winning, 10-year-old Mackenzie Govett from Thompson Valley Taekwando in Kamloops added.
“This is my first competition and I’m a little bit nervous but I’m also really excited,” said Govett. “I’ve been training for seven months and I like the competitions . . . we have our self defense and learn it all while meeting new people.”
The children’s competition attracted fighters of all types and every level between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. and the competition concluded with adults sparring from noon until 5 p.m.
Even though there was a strong sense of camaraderie in the gymnasium, hard work from competitors did not go unnoticed by the judges.
“Trail is a new tournament that’s coming up, it’s doing very well,” said judge Dan Zaleski. “Jason Ayles is organized and the (Greater Trail community) always gets behind any event that’s held here.”
A group of judges added to indicate that regional competitions are about making friends and having a good time playing the sport. Even after 40 years of judging Taekwando competitions Zaleski agreed and said regional competitions a great place for emerging martial artists to start out.
“But I will add that the sportsmanship among Trail players is unbelievable,” he said. “It’s an art and a sport, and I think Canadians play fairly but they also play hard.
“I see these competitors from Trail and they’re nice, but they train hard.”
And Trail Martial Arts instructor and owner, Ayles, couldn’t have said it better himself. Ayles said more than 80 competitors from his studio were attending the competition from Trail and was pleased by the crowd’s turnout, but was more impressed in the group’s thirst for self-empowerment.
“We train hard, we do the best we can and we focus on doing the best rather than winning,” he said.