February 24, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Martial arts teams celebrate big win at national competition

Martial arts teams from Bristol are celebrating after students won over 30 medals at a national competition.

Students aged from seven to 50 from Fishponds and Thornbury Taekwondo Academy took part in the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF)  UK Spring National Championships.

The team returned from the event held at SGS College, Filton, with gold, silver and bronze medals for patterns and sparring in junior and adult categories.

Instructor Gavin Reader, who has achieved the rank of 2nd degree Black Belt in the Korean-based martial art, said: “It’s nice to win medals but it’s more important to take part and give it your best effort, while learning from the experience and having fun.

“It takes courage to compete and we are proud of our team who work hard, while reflecting the Taekwondo tenets of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.”

And students aged up to 56 also competed in the Elite Martial Arts Professionals (EMAP) Open Championship at Thornbury Leisure Centre, which is open to a range of martial arts styles.

Students from Fishponds Taekwondo Academy came away with 15 medals – split evenly between gold, silver and bronze.

And Stuart Leppard, a 6th degree Black Belt, Kieran McDermott, a 3rd degree Black Belt, Ben Turner, a 2nd degree Black Belt and Lilly Buxton, a Black stripe, all competed from Thornbury Taekwondo Academy – also taking home several medals.

Master Buxton and Stuart Leppard of Thornbury Taekwondo Academy.

Master Buxton and Stuart Leppard of Thornbury Taekwondo Academy.Thornbury Taekwondo Academy was set up in 2001 by Master Vaughan Buxton, a 7th degree Black Belt and a British, European and World title holder, who has been training in the art for over 30 years.

Students from Fishponds Taekwondo Academy regularly attend his Black Belt and squad training sessions every other Saturday, as well as their own lessons during the week.

Students from Thornbury Taekwondo Academy.
Students from Thornbury Taekwondo Academy.

Physical and mental wellbeing

Gavin, who has been a sports coach for two decades and also works as a project manager for the NHS, said: “It’s great to see the students’ development. They also have fun – it’s a great activity for physical and mental wellbeing.”

Health benefits of Taekwondo include improved balance, flexibility, stamina, strength and posture. Psychologically, it is reported to help develop confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

Students have also successfully passed their recent grading – ranging from Gen X four to seven-year-olds training foundations to 2nd degree Black Belt promotion, which means they can serve as assistant instructors.

Family friendly club

Dad-of-three Gavin took up took up the martial art, which emphasises fast kicking techniques and is said to promote physical and mental strength, when his two daughters started the sport as young children.

Fellow instructor Simon Herrington, who has achieved the rank of 3rd degree Black Belt, also joined the club when his young daughter signed-up.

Simon, who has been a senior project manager for 36 years, said: “We pride ourselves on being a family-friendly club and have many siblings, as well as parents and children, train together.”