Things get choppy (at taekwondo tournament)

by Hillary Twiford, staff writer

Two Saegertown High School sophomores recently participated in the Champion of the Sword taekwondo tournament at Northwestern High School on May 20. Mykenzie Connally and Renee Allen competed in multiple categories to earn four swords each.

There were four divisions: sparring, self-defense, kadas, and weapon kadas. Connally earned first place in sparring and third in the other three divisions, and Allen earned third in sparring and second in both self-defense, kadas, and weapon kadas.

“I had to go first for the very first event, which was self defense,” Connally said. “I was too nervous. I was shaking the whole time, so I think it ruined my form.”

For Allen, the most nerve-racking part was the judges. “I don’t like talking to people I don’t know, so I didn’t like talking to the judges.” However, she still enjoyed the tournament. “I had a lot of fun, and I didn’t hurt myself!”

Connally’s favorite part of the tournament was receiving her swords at the end, but she did share enthusiasm for Allen’s favorite portion. “We weren’t a part of this thing called music kadas, but I enjoyed watching it because they were so into their routines and so energetic,” Allen said.

After competing in the tournament, both contestants strive for enhancement in martial arts. “I would improve my stance. One of the judges told me I was leaning forward, so I would fix that,” Connally said. Allen looks for overall improvement. “I want to practice more because now I know what the judges are looking for,” Allen said. Connally and Allen look forward to participating in more tournaments in the future.

 

Saegertown students take on taekwondo

By Hillary Twiford, staff writer

After school, many students participate in activities that no one knows about. For example, sophomores Renee Allen and Mykenzie Connally have been taking taekwondo lessons since October. They attend classes at Humes Martial Arts in Waterford two to three times a week to receive instruction from David Humes.

Their lessons focus on four different areas: sparring, self-defense, traditional movement patterns known as katas, and kata with weapons like bo staff and nunchucks.  However, classes in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and karadio, a mixture of karate and high intensity cardio combinations, are also available.

Allen’s favorite part of class is sparring, a match where you fight an opponent having little to no contact, whereas Connally prefers self-defense and katas because she feels like she has more control.

“I’ve been wanting to do taekwondo for awhile. I wanted to do something with fighting,” said Connally. “It seemed really cool, so Renee and I signed up to do it last minute.”

         Allen cites the reason for getting into taekwondo is because of her mother. “My mom was nagging me to do a self defense class so I said ‘hey why not?’”       

        They are currently yellow belts, but plan on surpassing orange belts and earning their blue belts in May before competing in the Champion of the Sword tournament on May 20 at Northwestern. “I’m excited for it, and we’re training really hard,” Connally said.