Lloydminster’s Pyper Bell, right, delivers a kick during a sparring match at the Art of Taekwondo and Kung Fu club open tournament on Saturday. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
The fourth annual Inter-provincial Open Martial Arts Championship provided a lesson for its varied competitors whether they captured a trophy or not.
Seventy athletes in the disciplines of karate, taekwondo and kung fu, including 40 members of the host Art of Taekwondo and Kung Fu club, took part in the tournament at the Servus Sports Centre on Saturday.
The participant’s intent was to win a trophy or medal in the events of kata and/or sparring, but the greatest gain they achieved came from an ability to compete against and learn from other martial arts athletes.
Lance Holmstrom, a green stripe with the Art of Taekwondo and Kung Fu club, said it’s fun challenging competitors from other martial arts disciplines. He said they all have a certain element of the sport that they’re good at, so it can be pretty hard to best an opponent in an open competition.
“I’m competing in kata, weapons and sparring,” said Holmstrom, 15, about halfway through the day-long tournament. “I’m doing good so far. I got second in weapons and first in sparring. I’m going to have to spar again.”
Michael Yoon, an eighth degree black belt with the Calgary-based Ki C Yoon Martial Arts Academy, said they brought eight students to Lloydminster in an attempt to help them experience competition and the teamwork needed during a successful tournament showing.
He said the kids came to win, but there are still important lessons to be learned when suffering a loss.
“A loss basically (teaches them) to be humble, have humility and understand that not everything in life you can win,” said Yoon. “We try and teach the kids that even though you haven’t succeeded at the moment appreciate the loss, respect the opponent and congratulate them. But, internally, say I just got to do better next time.”
Art of Taekwondo and Kung Fu club owner and coach Eliza Ma said the experience gained at this home tournament will help her students later in the season.
She said they’ll be travelling to a major open tournament in Red Deer later this month with the hope that the knowledge gained this weekend and earlier last month at the provincial championships in Edmonton will help them reach the podium.
“They get used to being in the club,” said Ma. “It’s nice when people come out and watch them and they get to see some competition. And we’ve never had (the Ki C Yoon Martial Arts Academy here) before, so they get to meet a bunch of people and hopefully become friends.”