Gaylene Paton(Second degree black belt) breaks a board with her hand.
Pass Herald Reporter
Sparwood Secondary School hosted the annual Kootenay Tae Kwan Do mini tournament. 160 athletes competed and all, but 24 from Calgary, were from the Kootenay area. Tae Kwando Do combines combat and self-defense techniques with sport and exercise and has been an Olympic event since 2000.
Even on a blue bird day on March 9th, the high school parking lot was full. Spectators lined the Tucker gymnasium as competitors did a warm up in unison. A large display of trophies dominated the front of the gymnasium.
A rapid succession of board breaking and wall climbing impressed onlookers. Youth aged competitors did a variety of running kicks and breaking multiple wooden boards with their feet while flying through the air.
Galene Paton, 19 year old from Crowsnest, has a second-degree black belt. Paton was one of the athletes displaying her board breaking techniques. When asked how she broke a board with her hand, Paton confidently replied, “You need to be mentally focused and strong.” Paton added, “I love the competitiveness of Tae Kwan Do. It’s pretty intense. It teaches discipline. My competitive side makes me want to give it my all. I have to perform at that moment.”
A youth athlete with his red belt was practising his kicks while waiting in the concession line up. Meanwhile a black belt was warming up with wall kicks in an adjacent hallway.
The sparing matches followed. Each match has four judges with one seated in each of the four corners, plus a referee. In addition, three people sit at a table observing the match. The person sitting at the centre runs the entire match while a timer and an organizer flank either side.
Grand Master JJ Lee made a special appearance at the tournament. A ninth degree black belt, Lee is a mentor of the sport. A wood carving of a rising dragoon was presented to GM Lee.
Lee was invited to Canada by the Canadian Ambassador to Korea saw him at a TWD demonstration. Originally from Chun-Ju City in South Korea, Lee immigrated to Canada in 1971. He started teaching TWD in Canada. Since then, the sport has grown. Lee is in his 70’s but he looks very healthy with few signs showing his age. He has been recently appointed to the World Governing body of Tae Kwon Do.
GM Lee believes it is good for children to develop concentration and patience. Growing kids need both these skills to be the person they are going to be as an adult. Training helps to use the correct muscles for the activity. Proper training is the key. The body and mind are separate but proper training can bring them together to use the right muscles. This training will lead to calm.
Instructor Gena Paton and Master Sant Sara were present and deserve recognition for a well-organized tournament.