Parksville Taekwondo Academy sent 12 competitors to the provincial championships last Saturday.
Alongside some 15 other clubs at the 2012 BC Taekwondo Championships, played out at Capilnao University in North Vancouver, were PTA black belts Alison Kells, 31, Marco Viedas, 18, Thalia Austin, 15, Emily Swann, 15, Brett Swann, 13, and Scotty Williams, 11.
They went along with a strong crop of up-and-comers: Ryang Won Kim, nine (Blue belt); Oakley Reelie, seven (Green Stripe); Brandy Sisson, nine, (Green-Stripe), and Chris Duke, 19 (Blue).
The local dojo made good on the mats with a collective haul of eight gold medals, five silver and four bronze.
“Anytime we get a majority of gold medals at a competition, it has to be considered a great success,” said PTA master Brett Fee, who oversaw the team at the B.C.s, then made the point, “gold medals are great, but a gold medal isn’t always an indication of how well an athlete performed, or how much they have grown as an athlete or person. We had quite a few competitors who competed hard, and although they didn’t end up winning gold, they really showed amazing indomitable spirit, which is an important tenet of taekwondo.
“I am so proud of everyone who competed, as every single person competed hard to the end, and never showed any signs of giving up,” he said. “To me, this experience teaches our students invaluable life skills in terms of perseverance and overcoming obstacles.”
Earning extra props for their efforts at the B.C.s were Brandy Sisson and Chris Duke, who both earned double gold by winning both their sparring and forms events.
Winning double gold in a competition, said Fee, “is a rare and difficult thing to achieve, so Brandy and Chris should be very happy that all their hard work in training is really paying off.”
Sisson, a little firecracker to be sure, was the only girl in her green stripe division and as such ended up sparring in the next group up from her which meant going up against girls older with more experience.
“It was lots of fun,” she said through a big smile.
Overall, “we did exceptionally well in sparring this time around,” said Fee, attributing the improvement to some changes they made in their programming last fall.
He said that last September the long-time local dojang introduced an Olympic Taekwondo program that focuses on developing the skills, techniques, and attitude required to succeed in Olympic Taekwondo sparring.
The program, he said, is an addition and enhancement to the many programs they already offer, and is optional.
The students who take advantage of this program, he said, “are really improving at an accelerated rate, and fairing so well at competitions is validation that this new program is really starting to pay off for the students who train in Olympic Taekwondo.”
Most Taekwondo schools do not offer a specific program designed for Olympic Taekwondo sparring, and instead simply mix sparring in with regular traditional classes.
“We are constantly evolving with the changes in Martial Arts, and take pride in staying on top of the newest innovations in training,” said Fee, whose family has run the dojang for years. “It’s a lot of fun, and we couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS HERE
Parksville, more specifically the Parksville Curling Club, will be Taekwondo-central Saturday, May 26, when PTA hosts the Vancouver Island Taekwondo Championships.