Bristol martial artists win UK Championship titles

Bristol martial artists celebrate medal haul

The team from UK ITF Region 7 Taekwondo
The team from UK ITF Region 7 Taekwondo on Finals Day.

Martial artists from Bristol are celebrating after seven students took home UK champion titles.

Members of Thornbury Taekwondo Academy and Fishponds Taekwondo Academy took part in the UK International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) Finals Day.

Only black belt students who had qualified at the National Championships were eligible to compete at the top-class competition, held in Reading.

Students also returned with silver medals and several have now qualified to compete in the European Championships, which will take place in Cardiff, Wales, in July.

 

Dedication

 

Instructor Master Vaughan Buxton, a 7th degree black belt and a British, European and World title holder, said: “The students have dedicated years of hard work to make it to this level of competition.

“Only a small percentage make it to finals and it is in itself a great achievement. I’m proud of the students’ performance and conduct throughout.

“We look forward to watching the team represent Bristol and the UK on the international stage this summer.”

Master Buxton and Stuart Leppard of Thornbury Taekwondo Academy.
Master Buxton and Stuart Leppard of Thornbury Taekwondo Academy.

The competitors all attend black belt clinics and squad training every other Saturday, as well as their weekly classes with the club.

Students from UK ITF Region 7 Taekwondo compete
Students from UK ITF Region 7 Taekwondo compete
Students from UK ITF Region 7 Taekwondo compete
Students from UK ITF Region 7 Taekwondo compete

Five per cent compete

It is said only five per cent of ITF Taekwondo students take part in competitions.

But the teams at Fishponds and Thornbury, combined known as UK ITF Region 7 Taekwondo, are active in the competitive arena.

Junior students from Fishponds Taekwondo Academy
Junior students from Fishponds Taekwondo Academy.

Eleven colour belt students from Fishponds took part in the Elite Martial Arts Professionals (EMAP) competition held in Thornbury Leisure Centre – winning 16 medals in total. The team took home four golds, nine silvers and three bronze medals.

And 23 competitors from Region 7 took part in the South-West Open Championships, which was held in Torbay Leisure Centre in Paignton.

The teams, which came back with 32 medals, also supplied umpires and coaches on the day.

Thornbury TKD students at the South-West Open Championships.
Thornbury TKD students at the South-West Open Championships.

Instructor Gavin Reader, who is a 3rd degree Black Belt in the Korean-based martial art and has been a sports coach for two decades, said he was proud of the students’ efforts.

Dad-of-three Gavin, who has worked as a paramedic and is a project manager for the NHS “It takes guts to step on the mat and I think those who take part in competitions should be proud of their achievements – whether they win medals or not.

“I think competitions are a great way to learn and challenge yourself as a martial artist. The team performed well and showed good sporting behaviour.”

Health benefits

Health benefits of Taekwondo include improved balance, flexibility, stamina, strength and posture. Psychologically, it is reported to help develop confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

Barbara Wood, who has earned her black belt in Taekwondo, aged 75.
Barbara Wood, who has earned her black belt in Taekwondo, aged 75.

Research suggests martial arts improve mobility, flexibility, balance and coordination in older adults. It also engages the mind and has been found to have therapeutic.

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Angela Belassie runs PR The Write Way to help small to medium sized organisations get coverage and raise their profile.