Taekwondo students place nationally

Published 12:15 am Friday, July 20, 2007

NATCHEZ — Three students from the Moo Shul Kwan Martial Arts School went to Cape Girardeau, Mo., for their first national Taekwondo competition on July 14.

Tyler Williams, Matthew Richardson and Jacob Hamilton each placed in their classes.

“These guys have worked very hard for this competition,” instructor Ken Rogers.

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Williams, a red belt, placed second in both the form and sparring categories for the advanced group for red and black belts.

“I trained in the kid’s and adult’s classes every day,” Williams said. “I had to learn a new form a week before I went.”

Williams’ form, Chung Mu, focuses on hand strikes and flying kicks.

“Tyler is incredible,” Rogers said. “He practiced hard and stayed focus on this competition.”

Richardson was the oldest participant but youngest in level with only four months of training. He placed second in sparring and third in form in the beginners adult group.

“Matthew has been totally dedicated,” Rogers said. “Not only does he come to every class but on his own time as well.”

His friend Cole Rutherford who went on a mission trip last month started Richardson’s interest in martial arts.

“I promised Cole that I would make it to his level before he got back,” Richardson said. “He gave me some good advice before I went to competition. He told me ‘the trick is to know you are twice as bad as you think you are.’”

Hamilton earned first in the form category and second in sparring in the advanced child’s group for blue and brown belts.

“I started working on my form one step at a time,” Hamilton said. “I tried to get every step perfect before I moved on.”

Hamilton missed placing first in sparring when he was disqualified for an illegal head kick to his opponent.

“It was accidental,” Hamilton said. “She stepped in with her head down while I was kicking.”

Rogers sees this as a great accomplishment for his students and the school.

“For three of my students to go and all three place well testament to the training we do,” Rogers said.