A total of 15 members of Velocity Taekwondo took part in the 2021 Online Canadian Recreational Poomsae National Championships. The Swift Current-based club led all Saskatchewan entries with 13 medals, including six gold, four silver, and three bronze medals.
Winning gold for Velocity were Austin Evans, Matthew Friesen, Lawrence Friesen, Ckintin Cortez, Cole MacIsaac, and Wendy Evans.
Brooklyn Hir, Mitchell Friesen, Jo-Lynn MacIsaac, and Kyel Skerten all earned silver medals.
Quinten Hir, Angie Friesen, and Tyler MacIsaac picked up bronze medals from Nationals.
Maverick Friesen placed fifth, while Ashlyn Evans had an eighth place showing.
“13 medals out of 15 students that entered to compete was incredible. It was just the hard work that the students put in, the time it took for them to practice. Being that it was online video submissions for them, to have ability to self criticize themselves to know when they could do better until they were satisfied with their entry was good, especially at their level to compete like that,” said instructor Allen Graves.
Graves said the club’s early success has been due to a mixture of factors during it’s first season.
“We’ve got a good group of instructors who’ve got a wide range of skills and abilities. But we’re all in a common thought process of how we want to teach the students. Our attention to detail to make sure that we’re not making cookie cutter martial artists. We’re willing to take the extra time that each and every one of them is going to be the best they can before they are ready to move on to the next one. The students have grabbed a hold of that too. They’re not in a rush to get to the goal. They’re willing to take the time to make sure that it is done right.”
While some of the competitions like sparring can’t be done virtually, the virtual format allowed for far more Velocity members to participate in Nationals as they are generally held in Ontario or Quebec about 75 percent of the time.
“Even if they have the skill level to compete it’s a huge time and dollar commitment to go out there. In that respect, to compete against athletes nation wide in a virtual fashion was good fortune for them to have that chance.”
He expects more competitions to be held virtually going forward.
“I think that some of the groups that have hosted online tournaments, especially with Poomsae being that you can do it virtually, I think they’ve learned from what they’ve offered us. I think they will refine the process and it will get better and better.”
“The organizers of all the competitions we’ve entered have done a really good job and it’s something to keep the students inspired and keep them motivated to want to keep training,” Graves added.
The club has no upcoming competitions right now but they are working with Taekwondo Saskatchewan on hosting a virtual provincial event.
Even without a scheduled competition, Velocity will continue to train.
“We don’t take summers off. Some students might take summer holidays, a two-month break, generally it’s the school holiday that they will take off. Some just continue year-round. It is a time commitment, but as we tell everybody it is a lifestyle, it’s not a seasonal sport like baseball. This is a sport that you can work at forever because it is an art.”