RMMA students bring home hardware

Four Rocky Mountain Martial Arts students went to the Missoula Taekwondo Championships tournament at the Missoula Loyola RAM Center Saturday to compete in the “season’s” first event.

Mrs. and Master Steve Rosbarsky, owners of the Missoula Taekwondo Center, hosted the tournament.

Almost 200 athletes competed, making for some good competition while enabling some fun and training opportunities. Butte’s Rocky Mountain Martial Arts and the Missoula Taekwondo Academy are “sister schools.”

MTA is owned by Stacey and Master Jake Parker and although we always help each other at such events some of MTA’s coaches coached some RMMA students, a fun and learning experience for all.

Erin Mclaughlan, 10 year-old green belt, competed in her very first tournament as did 23 year-old yellow belt, Triston Ker.

Erin placed third in Poomse (forms) and second in sparring, just losing out to a host school competitor in the championship round and is using the loss as incentive to return to action.

Triston found some very stiff competition in some seasoned MTA competitors while winning first place in forms, he lost out to champion Cory Wolf of Missoula’s MTA team. The bouts were fought hard and close with all four competitors sweating and laughing equally. The sportsmanship created that special bond that will probably last a lifetime.

Liam Sommer, a 13 year-old red belt, competed hard but ran into some bad luck in the match for second and third by suffering a neck injury in the second round and being withdrawn by Coach Jim Miller. Liam wound up winning third place in both sparring and poomse.

Ashlee Rex, 16 year-old second dan black belt, is returning to training after an almost three-month sabbatical during the summer. She won third place in a mixed Poomse division consisting of two boys and two girls. One boy and one girl were members of the Montana Junior National Team. The boy was from Kalispell and the girl was Abby Arianna of the host school.

It was almost the same in the sparring division with two girls representing the Montana team from Missoula, Abby and former member Claire Zelmer. All three matches were very close and with no run away scores. Abby won first, Claire placed second and Ashlee third again with the same grins and sweat.

Ashlee was pleased with her return and is weighing the possibility of returning to national level competition.

Next on the RMMA agenda is the Big Sky TKD Championships and AAU qualifier in Kalispell on Nov. 10.

— Submitted by Master Jim Miller

Erin Mclaughlan receives coaching from Gabe Ford of the Missoula TKD Academy.
Triston Ker, wearing glasses, poses for a photo at the podium.
Liam Sommer competes in the Poomse competition.