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Taekwondo tournament draws international competitors

OCEANSIDE — Competitors from as far away as Korea came to participate in the USA Taekwondo Tournament at Oceanside Pier Amphitheater June 2. 

“There are participants from a lot of different countries China, Korea, Mexico,” Jacky Baik, tournament co-director, said.

Ten sparing mats were set up at the amphitheater for simultaneous matches that ran all day. Two mats were designated for black belt competition.

A team of four judges scores each match; judges must give the same points to a sparring move for it to be recorded. The highest scoring competitor wins the match and goes on to face another match winner. Those scoring lower face each other.

Close to 1,000 youth and adults participated in one-on-one matches. Ages of competitors ranged from 4 to 60 and skill levels spread from beginners to black belts.

“It’s an open tournament, open for everybody,” Baik said.

The annual competition has been held in Oceanside for nine years. Teams look forward to the tournament as a way to ready black belt students for nationals and give all students an opportunity to compete and have fun.

“It’s a family event,” Baik said. “Students can see where their caliber is compared to other students. It’s about fun and fitness.”

“It’s about fun and of course to win,” Master Sean Yi of the National Taekwondo Center of Rancho Palos Verdes, Pasadena, Pamona, and La Verne, said.

During the ceremony World Black Belt Center students of Hemet demonstrated taekwondo dance, and students from Korea demonstrated traditional taekwondo moves.

“It shows what our school does,” assistant Juan Lopez, of the World Black Belt Center, said. “We not only teach martial arts and self defense, but self-discipline and how to be a better person in life.”

In addition to a full day of competition teams also took time to enjoy the beach and be together with family.