The 2013 Tae Kwon-Do International 10th Open World Championships hits the mats today at the Skydome Arena in Coventry, England and Team Canada is stocked with nine of Greater Trail’s best martial artists.
Attending the event from the Trail Martial Arts club (TMA) are Mattias Hofmann and James French from Rossland, Amos Lawrason from Annabelle, Kelly Waite and Jason Ayles from Trail, and John, Mary Ann, Paul and Emma MacLean from Montrose.
Ayles is a two-time competitor at the world championships, having won silver in sparring at the 2013 TKDI Canadian Championships and bronze the previous year. At the same Canadian championships in Kelowna in April, Hofmann qualified by winning gold in age 11-13 advanced patterns, as did Amos Lawrason who captured gold in the 14-17 advanced patterns. Emma MacLean was a double-bronze winner in advanced patterns and advanced ladies sparring, while Paul MacLean took bronze in the 14-17 advanced sparring. James French won bronze in the men’s advanced sparring, while in the over 35 category Kelly Waite took silver in ladies advanced sparring.
It is the largest contingent of TMA athletes ever to attend the event as they get set to compete in patterns and sparring against the best in the world. TMA instructor, Ayles, believes the team is ready, saying that work and dedication to the sport sets them apart.
“I am very proud of all the time and effort they have put in leading up to this event,” added Ayles, “I am not surprised by the number that qualified, they all put in the hours and dedicate themselves to Tae Kwon-Do. If you do that the rest takes care of its self.”
The Worlds is a huge venue, with thousands of spectators attending over the weekend. And while the competition will be intense, Ayles believes his team will perform well.
“I am expecting my students to leave it all on the mat and give their best efforts. It is the largest stage in the world to compete so they will face the toughest opposition they have played to date.”
There are four categories of competition at the worlds that include sparring, patterns, black belt destruction, and team sparring, however TMA experts will compete in sparring and patterns.
Sparring is scored by making light contact, with three points awarded for a kick to the head, two points for a kick to the body, and a single point for a punch to the body or the head. Patterns is a sequence of techniques with high scores for fluidity, flexibility, power, balance, and overall beauty of the pattern.
Tae kwon do is a relatively new art, emerging from Korea in the late 1950s as an attempt to unify different forms of martial arts like Karate and Tang su do. Its techniques are based on centuries old knowledge that, for adults, combines exercise, skill, self-discipline and concentration that develops ones ability to defend oneself as much as it helps reduce stress and incorporate a high ethical standard.
At Trail Martial Arts, Ayles also teaches his students about cultivating a focused and mentally strong approach in and out of the dojo.
Ayles and the team flew out earlier this week to recover from jet lag and also to take in the sights.