It’s a busy time for Taekwon-Do New Zealand in 2018 with an increased number of participants around the country and a number of accolades directed towards athletes from the sport.
Already this year two new Masters has been confirmed in New Zealand which means a Taekwon-Do athlete has reached closer to the pinnacle of their sport. There are now a total of ten Masters in New Zealand. It takes around 25 years training plus officiating, dedication and much more to achieve a Masters status.
Competition wise, the New Zealand nationals and Oceania Champs will be held in Wellington next week and have approximately 400 competitors from around the country as well as Australia. The July 14-15 event will be hosted at ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie and will feature a number of world champion Kiwis
The nationals lead on to the World Cup in Sydney in September and is where a nations competitors compete under their club banner, whereas the World Champs which was held in Northern Ireland last year is nation against nation. New Zealand finished second at the World Champs in 2017.
ITKD Taekwon-Do NZ CEO Mike Thompson is buoyant about the time ahead for the sport.
“We have a busy few months ahead with, plenty of events and development work as well. The national championships are coming up in Wellington which also serves as the 9th Oceania Champs, many of the competitors taking part medalled at the world champs last year. A few months later the ITF World Cup is being held in Sydney which provides some great international experience to our athletes as they prepare for the world champs in Germany in April which represents quite a congested high performance calendar for our athletes. A challenge they will relish,” said Thompson
“On the development front we continue to deliver successful KiwiSport programmes throughout the Auckland region. We are in the middle of delivering an International Taekwon-Do experience to over 11,000 primary and secondary school students. Since 2012 over 40,000 students have enjoyed our art and sport which is humbling for our instructors and organisation.”
Classes give a brief introduction to the core values (or "Tenets") of Taekwon-Do as well as the technical skills self-defence, and punching and kicking pads. The main objectives of the classes are to provide a positive introduction to both the physical and mental aspects of the sport as well as teaching the cultural and historical aspects of the sport and use Taekwon-Do as a method to improve a child’s basic movement skill development; this includes the basic skills to ‘release’ from a grab.
Other skills taught involve creating a fun experience while at the same time introducing martial art style discipline and training and improving a child’s self-esteem by positive encouragement and achievement
“Internally we are conducting a review of our operations in an effort to serve our clubs and instructors better. In turn this will result in a better International Taekwon-Do experience for our members, plus our amazing volunteers continue to deliver year after year,” said Thompson
Meanwhile coaches such as Carl Van Roon are not only instructing members of the public, but also junior world champs such as Bianca Koper at his Auckland martial arts training facility in Mt Eden. Van Roon, a multiple world champion has spent time this year instructing and giving speeches in Canada and the United States to strengthen and spread the world of the sport.