AB Taekwondo is holding its first tournament in Slave Lake on June 17.
“Everyone is welcome to come,” says Ava Briones.
The competition starts at 8:30 a.m. in arena two in the Slave Lake Multi Rec Centre. It costs $5 for spectators, but kids five and under are free.
Ava and her husband Alex started AB Taekwondo in Slave Lake in 2014. Before then, they had a taekwondo gym in the Philippines. Back in the Philippines, they held tournaments, but this is the first one in Slave Lake.
Both Ava and Alex started taekwondo in about Grade 6.
“When you start,” says Ava, “it’s hard to let go. It’s going to be part of your system.”
AB Taekwondo athletes compete at various Alberta Taekwondo sanctioned events across Alberta. The Slave Lake tournament will be recreational instead of sanction, but is done in collaboration with Alberta Taekwondo.
“It’s (a recreational tournament) great for students who are new to sparring and poomsa,” says Ava.
Poomsa is roughly translated as patterns and is one of the main features of any taekwondo tournament.
“Probably next year we’ll do a sanctioned one,” says Ava. “You cannot go big right away.”
The main difference between a sanctioned and recreational tournament is head kicking in the high performance competition.
AB Taekwondo offers classes throughout the summer, but its main season is during the school year. At that time, it had around 150 athletes, from four years old to adults.
AB Taekwondo teaches both recreational and competitive (high performance).