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Tiger Kim’s Academy (TKA) was founded in 1976 and has been located in Denver on the corner of East Colfax Avenue and Steele Street for many years. In addition to being one of Denver’s, Colorado’s and one of the country’s … Continue reading
(Denver, CO) – The Twin Dragons Tournament was held at Metro State University on April 16-17. It seemed fated, but once again it snowed. The forecast caused the addition of a new event, the best school spirit snowman contest. Fortunately, although it snowed for 40+ hours straight at the venue, the snow didn’t stick except during the earliest hours of Sunday morning. Despite the weather, almost all of the 300+ competitors managed to make it and compete successfully. The event also completed the 2015-2016 CO K8 School League Season.
Saturday featured all of the events besides sparring and grappling, and the level was high across the board, especially in the black belt divisions. In the Men’s Black Belt Forms division, Joshua Sallee (ALL) top top honors followed by Chris Endo (Victory) with John Lynn (Left Foot) and Ian Fleddermann (CU Denver) earning the bronzes. On the Women’s side Angela Olsen (ALL) took first with Summer Cannon (ALL) in second and Emma Hatfield (UNC) in third.
In board breaking, Master RJ Tomas (KAT) won with a mind-boggling routine that included 3 separate boards with spearfingers as well as a 2 board break with one finger. See the video here. Joshua Sallee (ALL) took second while Chris Garcia (ALL) and Sam Waters (ALL) finished third. On the Women’s side Angela Olsen (ALL) took gold. The boys 15-17 breaking had incorrect results. The order should have been Matthew Doyon (ALL) Gold, Janus Tomas (KAT) Silver, Jeremiah Manzanares (ALL) Bronze.
Blaster Pad sparring and Junk Weapons were once again a big hit, with students young and old alike going all out and coming up with creative martial arts uses for all sorts of everyday household objects. The team forms and group forms were amazing, with a special performance by the ALL Snapdragons, a team of women in their 40s and 50s who were amazingly skilled and synchronized.
The new Cloud Chess event featured few competitors but fierce matches, with Theo Sisson (Victory) and Master Laron Younger (LaKai) taking the Jr and Sr divisions respectively. They were unable to play for the Grand Championship, and the event will have to be scheduled for a later time.
Grandmaster Barb Kunkel’s ALL Competition Demo Team continued their domination of the main event, with a poignant and powerful Olympic themed demo. It was the 5th year in a row that they took top honors. The trick kick battle provided some fantastic aerial stunts, including several competitors landing full twisting flips and Master RJ throwing a 540 Gyro. The Trick Kick Battle is one of the most positive events, with competitors cheering loudly for their opponents, crowd noise factored into the judges’ scores, and even an impromptu kindergarten/pre-school division.
Sunday featured some great sparring and grappling matches at all levels from young beginners to top black belts. In the Men’s Black Belt Lightweight division, Augustin ‘El Tinito’ Luevano (Luevanos) dominated, bringing home the gold in one of the largest divisions. Brandon Lau (UNC) finished second with Dylan Badiga (Delgados) and Trenton Alberts (Han Lee) taking bronzes.
The Men’s Middleweight Black Belt Division was won by Bruce Mejia (Rock) with Jacob Gonzalez (Gonzalez TKD) earning second and Andrew Lopez (ACT) and Francisco Santos (Gonzalez) rounding out the podium.
The Men’s Heavyweight Division champion was Farhang Mousavizadeh (KAT) who defeated Sam Douglass (KAT).
Adult women’s black belts had a combined weight division, which was won by Eva ‘Bubbles’ Luevano (Luevanos) with Angela Olsen (ALL) in second and Katelyn Wiegand (UNC) in third.
In the adult advanced grappling divisions, Andrew Lopez (Auraria Campus Taekwondo) took gold for lightweight and Sir ‘Reaper’ Salonis (STORM) took it for heavyweight. In the women’s division, Angela Olsen (ALL) earned the top honors.
All in all the tournament was a big success, with numerous compliments and not a single complaint about the organization. Still, there is much that can and will be improved to make it an even smoother experience.
Many students won the Grand Champion ring (11 points) but the MVP of the tournament has to go to Angela Olsen (ALL) who dominated the women’s black belt divisions, winning gold in Forms, Breaking, Demo, and Grappling and silver just in sparring.
Much thanks to all the competitors, coaches, and parents who attended and we look forward to seeing you at the 2017 Lone Wolf Classic.
(Denver, CO). The Twin Dragons Tournament formed the final piece of the puzzle in determining the standings for the 2015-2016 year. It once again came down to the wire with more than 25 schools earning points. The following table summarizes the standings of the top finishers.
Aurora Quest became the first team to win the title three times (2012, 2014, 2016), breaking Crescent View Academy’s streak of two consecutive victories. The victory was bittersweet for Instructor Cathy Burson, as it was her last year at Quest. She was instrumental in starting the program 7 years ago and has been in almost every class since. Although there were some veteran competitors such as Addie ‘The Annihilator’ Burson, Avery ‘The Impossible’ Stelzreide and Maya Braunstein, the bulk of the points were earned by Kindergarten and 1st graders. Instructor Cathy noted: “Each of them competed with great sportsmanship, excellent technique and (very importantly) big smiles! I am always proud at the effort students put into the tournament, but this year was particularly rewarding to watch.”
Carbon Valley Academy ended up in second place. It was a great start for a program less than one year old. Instructor Dean Leverett added: “I believe the thing that has impacted me the most has been the dedication of the kids. I have seen children who don’t last in other sports give their whole heart to their training in Taekwondo. A child with severe autism has more social skills now than previously and a couple with ADHD have more focus and something to keep them motivated. The program has assisted the children in being more confident in both their social interactions at school and in their lives. To see the proud smiles on their faces is a dream come true for me.”
Master Kamil Latipov had two teams in the top six, Crescent View Academy in 3rd place and Joe Shoemaker in 6th place. CVA was missing several key families in this event which impacted their ability to win overall. Master Kamil was especially proud of his Shoemaker students. “The students did really well for their first year of competition. They have a really strong base and I can’t wait to see how they grow in the future.”
Montessori Del Mundo ended up taking 4th place. The school finished first place in the sparring competition, but didn’t participate in the other point bearing events for this year. Instructor Paola Perez stated: “It’s not how big you are, it’s how big you play, and MDM gave everything out there. Proud of my kiddos. They did a great job.”
Fifth place was earned by Master Bethany Lopez’s Murphy Creek program, another program a little more than one year old. Vanguard Classical School East and Mosley P8 rounded out the top 8.
The tournament was an amazing finish to the 6th league season and the league keeps growing and growing with new teams and students.
(Aurora, CO) – The traditional powerhouses were dethroned in the Fall Colorado Elementary Taekwondo League Championships on November 14th as three new programs stormed to the top. Instructor Paola Perez’s Montessori Del Mundo team took top honors with a spirited performance centered around Olympic Sparring. Master Bethany Lopez’s Murphy Creek Jets came in second, with dominating performances in breaking and forms. Third place honors were won by Dean Leveret’s Carbon Valley Academy squad.
The tournament also featured a great showing by many students from Luevano Taekwondo.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether the results can hold after the Twin Dragons Tournament (April 16-17) when more points are up for grabs and most established teams are usually stronger. In any case, it is a great start!
- Montessori Del Mundo. (12)
- Murphy Creek (10)
- Carbon Valley Academy (8)
- Crescent View Academy (7)
- GVA Ft. Collins (6)
- Highline Academy (5)
- Vanguard (5)
- Aurora Quest (5)
- Lotus School for Excellence (4)
- CO International School (4
- Aspen Crossing (4)
- Belleview (2)
- DSST (2)
- Archuletta Elementary (2)
- Centennial Elementary (1)
- Loremy Johnson (1)
- Greenwood Academy (1)
- Plays Bridge Academy (1)
(Littleton, CO) – LaKai Taekwondo (KAT Littleton) hosted a seminar from Sifu Kisu Star of the Harmonious Fist Chinese Athletic Association on September 19th and 20th. You can learn more about Sifu Kisu on the Avatar Wiki Page or his tumbler page. In addition to adapting traditional martial arts to create the bending on the show, he was also the inspiration for the character of Sokka’s master.
The seminar was a collaboration between the Rocky Mountain Kung Fu Alliance and the Korean Academy of Taekwondo. Master Laron Younger, the main host for the event stated: “I would venture to say that having Sifu Kisu visit was an incredible experience for all who came in contact with him. I believe that it was truly one of the best experiences I’ve had in the martial arts world, it’s truly refreshing to see someone who has such a love and compassion martial arts and people.”
Sifu Gary Choi added: “Sifu Kisu was amazing to have around, his insight and skill on the martial arts is only surpassed by his heart, love, and compassion for people around him and for the art.” Sifu Adam Reed called Sifu Kisu “a treasure among us” and the sentiment was widely shared.
The seminars covered a variety of empty hand and sword forms. While the techniques themselves were fantastic, a good part of the real value of the weekend came in the informal Question and Answer sessions and how genuine love for martial arts could be seen in each casual interaction. Sifu Kisu also revealed some details of an exciting new project that he is working on.
Sifu Kisu himself had this to say: “Chinese Martial Arts embody harmonized teaching and training techniques which serve as either self-defense, healing, psychological revelation, vivifying exercise, or a spiritual path, and could act as a catalyst to people who would normally not be interested in spiritual practices or other esoteric training. This knowledge changed me on so many levels that I have no words to explain. I went from a piece of tin to a bolder of gold
My life’s work now is the practice, teaching and promotion of the Northern Shaolin system of traditional Chinese martial arts. A while back I was engaged by one of my students (Bryan Konietzko) who worked for Nickelodeon as a consultant on their hit TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender. Through that show I have attempted to promote the higher concepts of Martial Art virtues. I am proud to say this is the first show for young people that I had seen passing along the concepts of honor, duty, loyalty, friendship and harmony.“
All in all it was a great weekend, and we hope to have him return to Colorado in the future.
(Aurora, CO) – The Ninja Mile will be held on September 12th, 2015 at Rocky Ridge Park. It was originally scheduled for Aug 29th but had to be moved due to permitting issues with the city of Aurora.
Students can choose to complete various obstacles which result in bonuses that take time off the end. For instance, you can run across the finish line for your regular time, or do a flying side kick over the bonus finish line for 10 seconds off.
For more information or to register visit www.kattaekwondo.com/ninja-mile/
The Iraqi Taekwondo team participated in the Annual Daedo- Truescore International Open (September 27th – 29th, 2013). This single elimination tournament, held according to the regulations of the WTF, was followed and led by the head referee Grand Master Chaco Cornelio (International referee, ARUBA). The electronic system of scoring was used in this tournament (Daedo). There were 15 countries that participated and were made up of: Cadet male and female teams, Junior male and female teams, and Adult male and female teams. Iraq participated in adult male sparring and earned three gold medals in the following weight divisions:
- Jafar Al, 68 Kg (Gold)
- Ali Mseer Alhachami, +80 Kg (Gold)
- Ahmed Aqeel Alsubaihawi , 63 Kg (Gold)
It has been a long journey for the Iraqi team. Ahmed Aqeel Alsubaihawi represented Iraq at the World Championships earlier in 2013 and continues today to represent Iraq with his teammates (Jafar Al and Ali Mseer Alhachami).
(Denver, CO) – The 2015 White Tiger Championships was held at Metro State University of Denver on March 21-22, 2015 by the Korean Academy of Taekwondo. The event featured over 300 athletes from 39 schools and programs. Students earned magnetic “DO” medals that connect with the “KWON” medals from the Twin Dragons Tournament (2013/2016) and the “TAE” medals from the Lone Wolf Classic (2014/2017).
The event started Saturday afternoon with forms. In the Men’s black belt division, top honors were won by Chris Endo (Victory TKD), while second place went to Joshua Sallee (ALL TKD) and bronzes were picked up by Kyle Landon (KAT – Lakai) and Han Lang (DU Taekwondo). In the Women’s black belt division Alyssa Allen (ALL TKD) took home gold with Gail Westmoreland (APEX TKD) taking silver. Bronzes were won by Monica Ryu (KAT – Aurora) and Emma Hatfield (UNC Taekwondo).
The breaking divisions were especially large and competitive. Generally in breaking competitors are either power breakers or technique breakers, but in the Men’s black belt division, both Master RJ “Taz” Tomas (KAT – Aurora) and Genewoo “Woo-Ninja” Sohn (Park’s TKD) showed an uncanny combination of the two. Tomas ended up in first after breaking several boards with a hammerfist while holding a raw egg (which he later opened and drank), breaking with a high flash kick, and powering through multiple boards with spearfingers. Sohn ended up second after breaking four large boards, 4 demo boards with high level spins, and 2 bricks. Bronzes were won by Jonathan Robinson (ALL TKD) and Laron Younger (KAT – LaKai) who finished an impressive routine with a breakdancing ‘robot’ break.
During breaking there were also a variety of team forms in the center ring, Totem Forms (Piggyback where one person does the stances and one the hand techniques), traditional pairs forms, and family forms. In a move sure to please fans of the dark side, ALL’s Team Sith edged out Team Jedi in the Musical Kids division.
Blaster Pad Sparring was as always, fun and intense. Master Katie Pottle remarked. “One of the most spectacular divisions was the girls 35-40 lbs blaster sparring division. I fully realize how ridiculous that last sentence sounds according to conventional martial arts wisdom. However, we also know that true “DO” can sometimes be found in unconventional places. The gold medalist, Daisy Walsh, lost her first match. She had to fight her way through the losers bracket, eventually needing EIGHT exhausting matches.” Daisy had just defeated a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer, which has surely given an immense reservoir of strength locked in a 37 lb body.
In the adult black belt Weapons division, Jonathan Robinson (ALL TKD) took first with some impressive bo staff skills, while Genewoo ‘Woo-Ninja” Sohn (Park’s TKD) received silver for his sword. This left last year’s champion and Indiana Jones look-alike Zak ‘The Professor’ Kirk (KAT – Metro) to settle for third with his double whip form.
Junk Weapons was again a hit, with a record 35 competitors. This year teams could pick either a dishrag, comb, or magazine, as well as whatever came out of the ‘grab bag.’ In the black belts division Brandon and Ryan Glaze (ALL TKD) took home gold with Christopher, Jonathan and Ian’s team (ALL TKD) taking silver. Ann and John Lynn (Left Foot Taekwondo) and Leroy Young (KAT – Lakai) and Darius ‘The Emperor’ Ray (KAT – Metro) ending up with the bronzes.
The demo team division was phenomenal, and prior to competition Congressman Mike Coffman came to address the crowd. Congressman Coffman has become a genuine friend to the martial arts community, attending several events in the last year and building real relationships with instructors and students. As a former Marine the congressman had no trouble shattering a board, which he signed and dedicated to Daisy. Master Barb Kunkel (ALL TKD), a US Olympian who was herself coming off a successful fight against cancer, gave Daisy a chocolate bunny and dedicated their team’s performance to everyone fighting the disease. All three demo teams turned in powerful, technically strong performances, yet ALL TKD’s routine was on another level. The mix of phenomenal choreography, exacting synchronization, and high level tricking looks nearly unbeatable. The team has previously taken silver and bronze at the World Hanmadang in Korea, and there is a general sense that this year they have their strongest chance for gold. United Martial Arts Centers took home the third place trophy while Family Martial Arts took home the 2nd place trophy. It was great to have the Family Martial Arts team back in competition – they had previously won the first demo team competition at Metro back in 2004. The demo teams were truly each other’s biggest fans, and there are few sports where opposing teams would cheer for each other so openly and wholeheartedly. This is just one of the things that makes martial arts so truly special.
The last event of Saturday night was the crowd-pleasing Trick Kick Battle, and again the level was raised significantly over previous years. In the teen’s division, John-John Tomas (KAT – Aurora) btwisted and cart-fulled his way to gold, with Josh Taniguchi (ALL TKD) and Mattthew Doyon (ALL TKD) taking silver and bronze respectively. In the adults division Master RJ ‘Taz’ Tomas (KAT – Aurora) showed amazing power and speed, back flipping from sitting to splits among other things. Kyle ‘Peaceful Thunder’ Landon (KAT – LaKai) was just 0.3 points behind, and used the adrenaline to be able to complete some new moves for the first time. Genewoo ‘Woo Ninja” Sohn (Park’s TKD) came in third followed by Chris Garcia (ALL TKD). The crowd went wild when 39 year old 290 lb Laron Younger (KAT – LaKai) landed a roundoff- backflip early in the competition.
Sunday morning saw the sport combat events. Splitting the tournament into two days was a welcome relief to many parents and students, especially the sparring competitors who didn’t have to wait around all day for their matches. As with Saturday’s events, the level of sparring was higher than in previous years. This year both red and black belts used the Daedo system, while blue and below used ringmaster. This provided a good balance of cost/experience for everyone.
In the Men’s Black Belt Lightweight division, Cole Broche (Elite Performance Taekwondo) turned in a dominant display of skill winning the gold over Jaire Fortt (KAT – Aurora). In the Middleweight division, Sir Salonis (KAT – Storm) similarly claimed gold over Alex Meier (Song’s Elite) who had to settle for silver. In the Ultra Welterweight division Daniel McCallum (Shin’s Academy) showed great skill in defeating Leroy Young (KAT – LaKai) and in the Ultra Heavyweight division Evan Wainwright (Song’s Elite) edged out Laron Younger (KAT – LaKai) for the gold.
Women’s black belt sparring had only one division, but it was a great one, unfortunately marred by injury. Eva Luevano (Luevano’s Taekwondo) looked great and seemed destined for gold after she took a 7-4 lead over Stephanie Linsley (Kim and Cam’s Taekwondo) with a lightning fast triple kick to the body in the second round of the semi-finals, but the technique was so powerful it aggravated a knee injury and she had to withdraw. Linsley went on to defeat Jenny Kim (KAT – CU Denver) in the finals, in a match where Kim scored 11 body shots but Linsley dominated in the head shots department. Ashley Amaro (Song’s Elite) earned the other bronze medal.
The grappling competition was once again fantastic. In the key lightweight division Fernando Rodriguez (KAT – Aurora) defeated Josh Ornelas (Compassion Road Academy) in the finals to earn gold. One of the best matches of the day was the semi-final between Rodriguez and Mason Czerpak (World Class Boxing and Martial Arts). Czerpak was fresh as he had won his first match by guillotine choke in just 11 seconds. Rodriguez’s guard was hard to pass, but Czerpak still had the edge after the first round by a score of 10-5. However, Rodriguez executed a beautiful and patient triangle choke in the second round for the victory. The other bronze was claimed by Billy Santisteven (Compassion Road Academy). The middlewieght division came down to Sir Salonis (KAT – Storm) and Brendan Croft (The Rock) for the third time in as many years. Salonis had taken the title in 2013 and Croft had taken it back in 2014. This time Salonis looked strong throughout, securing a back mount and back choke that Croft managed to fight out of. Salonis went for omaplata and when Croft defended by arching Salonis expertly switched to a triangle choke to finish the match. Bronzes went to Andrew Lopez (KAT – Metro) and Kyle ‘Peaceful Thunder’ Landon (KAT – LaKai). In the heavyweight division Santa Cruz Sotero (MayTec Fighting Systems) defeated Jerry Rivera (WCBMA) by arm bar. In the top women’s division Katie Hunter (KAT – LaKai) tapped out to Christina Trjillo (WCBMA) after an exciting couple of minutes.
The finals for the Colorado Elementary School League Championships was close again this year, with Crescent View Academy edging out Aurora Quest K8 21 to 20. However, the battle was anti-climactic given CVA’s nearly insurmountable lead from the fall championships. Global Village Academy finished the season in third with Merrill Middle School in 4th and Omar D Blair in 5th.
All in all it was a great event, one of the most organized, relaxing, and high level events ever in Colorado. Although only the adult black belt results are reported here, there were many epic battles among the teens, kids, and color belts as well. Legacies were claimed, tri-medals were completed, and self-doubts and fears were overcome by many.
This year several businesses offered to ‘unlock’ special discounts to anyone who won a medal. The discounts are good only until Sunday March 29th.
KAT would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to all the competitors, volunteers, and referees who made the event possible. Special thanks goes to Master Bob McKenna, who flew in from California and to our Tournament Committee Members, especially Chris and Lexi Brown (Awards), Dean Leverett (Sales Table) and Christina Seraile (Registration).
Please post pictures and videos (public) in the Official Facebook Event. See you all at the 2016 Twin Dragons Tournament!
(Aurora, CO) – Colorado Martial Arts News was honored to host the 2nd Annual CO Martial Arts Awards that celebrated special accomplishments from Colorado based students, instructors, and referees during 2014. The 2013 Awards were online voting only, and this was the first year the ceremony grew into a live event.
This year’s event featured acceptance speeches by numerous notable recipients, including Master Barb Kunkel who spoke of her battle overcoming cancer and the success of the Fight For Life Fundraising Tournament. The speeches were as diverse as the honorees, yet there were common threads throughout. Winners were quick to point out all the people who had helped them along the way as well as recognize others who would have also been deserving of the same awards. The Kick of the Year award was voted on during the event, with Madelyn Gorman-Shore taking home the trophy for her headshot in US Open last year by just one vote.
A relaxed and positive vibe was felt throughout William Smith High School where the ceremony took place. Although they would be perfectly happy to kick each other in the face in the ring, the various martial artists in attendance were genuinely happy to share in the success of others.
The event was organized, planned, and personally funded by Colorado Martial Arts News writer Sir Gregory Salonis. As the event was free and open to the public, he will gratefully accept donations via Paypal at [email protected] As the event grows into the future, the idea is to recruit sponsors and charge a nominal admissions fee to offset the cost of running such an event.
The full list of winners is below:
Indomitable Spirit Award– Sab Barb Kunkel
Referee of the Year Award– Master Angela Hammil DeOliveira
Coach of the Year Award – Master Darin Carr
Poomsae of the Year Award – Nikita Karamian
Junior Male of the Year Award– Isaac Vigil
Junior Female of the Year Award– Madelyn Gorman-Shore
Senior Female of the Year Award– Maureen “Baby Face” Riordon
Cadet Male of the Year Award– Joshua Kosloski
Kick of the Year Award and voting (Madelyn G.S)
We will open up the nomination process for the 2015 Awards on or around Jan 1st 2016. For now, go out and do something epic!
You can also download the powerpoint presentation with many highlight videos of the athletes (warning: 2.6 GB)
You can also see more pictures taken by Kerry Kara (may not be available for everyone)