Rocky Mountain Martial Arts hosted an in-club Taekwondo tournament on Saturday, with 22 athletes competing in poomse (forms) and gyroogi (sparring). Of the 22 competitors, 19 were competing in their first tournament. The tournament was officiated and judged by club owner Sara Lightner and Kukkiwon certified black belts Jim Miller, Mackenzie Rosenleaf, Samuel Byrnes, Lauren Powers and Montana Parker.
The first event of the day was poomse, a memorized form routine in which the athlete demonstrates offensive blocks and defensive attacks against multiple opponents. The youngest competitor, 4 year-old Lucas Coyne, entertained the crowd when he got a little creative with his poomse, punching, kicking and jumping in every direction. It was the gusto and joy with which he performed that earned him the gold! His fellow gold medal winners (from all divisions) were Kaden Halvorsen, Benny Andersch, Aaliyah Calderon, Lydia Borduin, Niles Borduin, Lewis Icopini and Kyla Marshall-Evans. Silver medal winners were Trace Andersch, Ariah Godat Murphy, Elijah Vaughan, Mia Archer, Joseph Cantwell, Mike Borduin and Molisa Rees. Bronze medal winners were Thomas Fisher, Tora Andersch, Jayce Cleveland, Kori Blackburn, Aiden Blackburn, Amy Martin and Montana Parker.
The next event, gyroogi, consisted of two one-minute rounds of sparring. The athletes were put into divisions based on martial art rank and physical build. Each athlete competed in two matches, for a total of four rounds. A few lucky athletes battled through three matches. One such fortunate pair was Elijah Vaughan and Mike Borduin. 7-year-old Elijah made fast friends with the 6-foot-6 Mike at the beginning of the day and challenged him to an unscheduled sparring match. Mike graciously accepted the challenge, spending two rounds fighting on his knees so that he could be in Eli’s kick zone. Eli enjoyed every second of those rounds, punching and kicking his way to victory with glee and smiles.
Gold medals in gyroogi were earned by Trace Andersch, Tora Andersch, Benny Andersch, Lucas Coyne, Kori Blackburn, Niles Borduin, Molisa Rees and Lewis Icopini. Silver medals were earned by Kaden Halvorsen, Ariah Godat Murphy, Jayce Cleveland, Kyla Marshall-Evans and Mike Borduin. Bronze medals were earned by Thomas Fisher, Aaliyah Calderon, Elijah Vaughan, Lydia Borduin, Aiden Blackburn and Amy Martin.
Throughout every sparring match, all competitors displayed great skill, endurance and compassion. They treated each other with respect and honor, demonstrating what it means to be martial artists. The crowd that came to support the athletes – the parents, grandparents, siblings and friends – did their job very well too. They stayed pretty quiet during the poomse competition, allowing the competitors to focus on their forms and do their best performance. When the sparring began, the crowd also sprang into action with boisterous cheering and great encouragement. Of all the cheers, none were louder or more sincere than that of Aiden Blackburn for his sister Kori. They also had their parents there to support them, but it may have been Aiden’s sweet encouragement that rallied Kori and helped her to the gold medal. He was just as proud of her as she was of herself.
The good sportsman-like attitudes of the competitors and supporting crowd of family and friends created an encouraging and fun environment for all of these athletes to experience what Taekwondo tournaments are like.
— Story submitted by RMMA