Harmony TaeKwon-Do was host to the 2012 ITF TaeKwon-Do provincial championships last weekend, a first for Smithers which continues to grow as one of the martial arts hubs of the North.
Athletes from all over B.C. made the trip to compete and qualify for a number of different divisions.
Over 109 competitors took to the mats in both patterns and sparring as Smithers Harmony made some impressive strikes capturing a number of medals.
“I did pretty good,” said Ed Dwijn.
“A little disappointed in my performance but I had a good time, had some fun, I learned a lot which is the important thing, I know what to work on for next time.”
This was the first time the provincial tournament was held in Smithers, a decision that was meant to help promote one of the fastest growing sports in the North.
“We’ve had a great day, we have athletes from across the province. There’s more of a focus on the northern athletes because here in the North quite often they miss out on opportunities because of travel and such so we wanted to bring it up here to promote a bit of the martial arts in the North,” said Kurt Ottesen, Freedom TaeKwon-Do instructor.
Although some Smithers athletes were eliminated early in the day, the younger fighters raked in more than just a few awards with two golds and a silver in sparring and patterns as well as two bronze finishes.
Smithers has always been a hub for martial arts and this tournament reinforced the dedication people have to such an ancient form of athleticism.
“B.C. has one of the largest TaeKwon-Do populations in Canada,” Ottesen said.
“In our particular style ITF, we have about 1,600 registered students, so it’s really growing a lot. It’s a great activity for the entire family. They get to compete and have opportunities, a lot of these people this weekend will go on to compete at the Western Canadian Championships next week.”
Although martial arts do have a violent aspect to it, it’s only a sliver of the real achievement in martial arts.
Today it’s more of a family affair than ever before and as Dwjin explained, after retiring from the sport the interest of his 14 year old son is what brought him back to the mats.
Still, win or lose there are greater lessons to behold and Fred Hudson can already see the excitement growing for a discipline that teaches more than just throwing kicks and punches.
“Everyone went away with a smile on their face so everyone enjoyed them selves. All the hard work really paid off,” said Hudson.
“I would think it bodes well for martial arts in general, but especially for us in TaeKwon-Do. It’s been a great honour to be awarded it and to host it. It was really nice to have so many people show up and compete. It was a lot of fun.”