OCEANSIDE — The U.S. Open Elite Taekwondo Championship June 4 brought more than 900 of the best youth and adult competitors. The eighth annual competition drew U.S. and international competitors from several Southwestern states, Mexico and Korea.
Sparring mats were staged along the Pier Amphitheater for the daylong competitions. Competitors were matched by age, skill and weight. Fighters, anywhere from 4-years-old to 70-years-old, all vied for the chance to win bragging rights and a trophy.
“The motivation is being out there in front of so many people. It gives them confidence,” Master Jacky Baik, of USA Taekwondo Center, said.
Up-and-comers also have a front row seat to see the best in amateur competition. “Looking at a higher belt gets them motivated,” Baik said.