The Burning Phoenix school of Taekwon-Do, with more than 40 active students, can turn any situation into something awesome and fun. This is partly because, frankly, we’re all awesome, and partly because we do awesome and fun things.
The 2nd BPTKD Challenge, starting what is sure to be a long tradition of annual March tournaments, was held on March 17th at the Northwest Multi-Purpose Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. There were 9 events and more than 30 students competing for dozens of medals and one overall Tournament Master Grand Champion winged-figurine-crested trophy.
At 9 o’clock on that windy St. Patrick’s Day Saturday morning, the tournament commenced with a formal bow-in and rules presentation led by sa-bum Heather Gemmell and sa-bum Eric Gemmell, and a chorus of the Star-Spangled Banner led by students Myra Schjelderup and Alex Angelos.
“I still don’t know why I [volunteered to sing]… but I think it turned out well. I didn’t hear anyone complaining.”
- Alex Angelos -
The first event of the day was Patterns, followed by Sparring and Power Breaking, as you would expect from a Taekwon-Do tournament. To make it that much more exciting, there were a few extra, special events.
Speciality Breaking: Flying High Kick, Flying Turning Kick, and Flying Overhead Kick.
“For specialty breaking, I was not going to let myself miss the flying high kick. In our November BPTKD challenge Mr. Firmont (one of the board holders for the same event) told me my foot had gone above the board, but I hadn’t touched. I went in with the attitude that I was just going to try and touch all my specialty breaks and not even try and break them.
I’d say that strategy paid off — all my gold medals were for specialty breaking.”
- Alex Angelos -
Freestyle Breaking: Competitor chooses targets and techniques to hit all boards in the air. Spectacular.
The last event of the tournament was Team Breaking. 5 teams, one last chance to earn medals (and points) for Grand Champion.
“Mr. Gemmell advised that I was in the top 3 people most likely to get the Grand Champion Trophy, and so I really wanted to medal in team breaking — but it was more fun in team breaking when Mr. Jones had said that he was hoping to get the Trophy and I said I had at least 12 points with 4 gold medals. The look on his face was great because it was severely bummed out mixed with ‘that’s awesome ma’am’. ”
- Alex Angelos
Congratulations to Grand Champion… *drum roll* Alex Angelos!
“I really wanted to try and get the Grand Champion Trophy. I can get pretty competitive, and I was a little bummed when Ms. Vega won the last one…. So I wanted to do better. … I was just so stoked to win that trophy — that was my goal and I’m glad I felt like I earned it (: “
“She’s very deserving of it, and what a nice way to say ‘bye for now’ as she gets ready to leave on her mission!” says High-Red-Belt Melanie Bunch.
Despite having 9 events — more, surely, than any of us had done before in any one tournament — the Challenge finished in under 7 hours.
About 20 tournament-goers (and family) met later to dine, relax, and discuss the tournament….
“It was awesomely awesome,” says then-High-Blue-Belt Luis Chavez. “It went by so fast,” he reflects, “when we got to breaking I thought it was like 3 [o’clock] but it was like 12….”
I’m looking forward to future tournaments of this magnitude of awesomeness.
Special thanks to instructors Heather and Eric Gemmell, assisting Black-Belts Natasha Tabert and Benjamin Jones, score-keeper and announcer Kevin Ray, and to the High-Red Belts (Melanie Bunch, Stephen Bratt, Viviana Vega, and Miguel Barahona) who, though unable to participate in most events, were there to support and help out.
To quote our Grand Champion again, “I think that about covers the tournament. I would call it awesomely epic.” “:)”
The Students Say….
“I wasn’t as involved with the tournament this time as I usually am,” Miss Melanie Bunch reflects. “But everyone seemed to be having a great time!” The resident photographer of Burning Phoenix events, Miss Bunch was a fan of the podium where medalists stood for victory shots. Along with the Grand Champion award, her highlights included watching the reaction of Ms. Hawks — “[S]he was understandably quite excited” — as she broke 3 boards, placing 1st in her division for Power Hand.
“And I had a GREAT time at the dinner afterwards! Great food, good company, fun conversation……..what an awesome topper to the day!”
“I was super glad to hep out… [and] I got to use the little throw phoenix I made — which was awesome,” says our Grand Champion. “I also liked how Mr. Gemmell went to get everyone who wasn’t wearing green at the end of the tournament — but everyone in uniform was.”
“Tournament was awesomely fun. … [E]ven though I didn’t get medals for 2/3 of the specialty breaking I was really happy with how I did on all three of them, though especially flying turning! [I]n terms of sparring it was the first tournament that I felt like I had a chance at winning a match….. Probably the most fun tournament I’ve been to so far! ”
- Ani Schjelderup -
“I enjoyed taking care of everyone as the medic, and making sure that everyone was fine when it was all over,” says then-High-Green-Belt Gennese (and that’s juh-nee-s) Hawks. She at first had reservations about that 3-board break. “I have never broken more than 2, so this really made me excited, because I put my mind to something and I accomplished it.”
“I think one of my favorite parts about this tournament was that I was never saddened when someone did better than I — it was excitement that WE were out there performing well, and that there was an awesome competitive spirit.”
- Alex Angelos -