19th October 2018

Plymouth hosts first Martial arts tournament designed to take politics out of the fight

Discovery Martial Arts Academy and New Wave Martial Arts have collaborated to bring the first truly ‘Open’ Taekwondo tournament, to Plymouth – their home city.

Over 250 Taekwondo enthusiasts from ten different martial arts clubs recently traveled from across the region to descend upon Nuffield Health in Derriford, compete against each other and take their training and ability to the next level.

“Competitions are not just about winning medals, they’re a vital part of Taekwondo training and are the only way to truly test yourself,” says Kevin Hamill from Discovery Martial Arts Academy.  “They’re designed to provide a safe and controlled environment in which an individual’s ability can be showcased but they do take people out of their comfort zone.  Even though there is a lot of fear and anticipation surrounding competitions, students regularly surprise themselves by how well they do and the process is definitely character building.” he adds. 

With the purity of taekwondo at its heart, the collaboration between Discovery and New Wave aims to elevate the art and sport of Taekwondo beyond the global, regional and local political fray that embroils the discipline so that it doesn’t sculpt the future landscape of Taekwondo in Plymouth.

“Our aim is to provide a positive, shared experience and create a tournament completely free of politics.  We want our Open to be truly open, irrespective of a club’s affiliation; where everyone across the South West who trains in Taekwondo is truly welcome,” says Gary Burdock from Discovery Martial Arts Academy.

“We are all passionate about Taekwondo; we live and breathe it every day, so our Open is very different by design and we want to thank all our supporters who have helped bring our idea to life,” says Mark Bishop from New Wave Martial Arts.  “We’ve used our experience as competitors, instructors and officials to create a great challenge that will inspire our youngsters, test the skill of all participants and encourage them to raise their game.  Every medal is truly earned,” he adds.

Here’s how competitors and parents summed up the day:

Sue Gilbert, whose 8 year old daughter Emma entered all the tournament’s categories said:  “She was nervous but absolutely loved it! It was her first experience of a tournament which will take away the fear of the unknown for next time. For me Taekwondo isn’t just about regular training and fitness, it’s about taking part in competitions like these that show you what levels you can take the sport to.”

 In their first ever competitive event, Alan Wormald took the gold in patterns away from Aidan, his 14 year old son who had to settle for silver.  “I would never have heard the end of it if the result had been the other way round!” said Alan.  “It’s a nerve racking experience performing at competitive level in front of your peers because you want to do your best for yourself as well as your club but its something I would do again – absolutely!’ he added.

 Phil Morris, whose 10 year old son Brody trains with Discovery Martial Arts entered the DMA Sports Open despite spending regular stints in the high dependency unit at Derriford because of brittle bones, severe asthma and breathing difficulties:  “Taekwondo is a sport that is truly open to everyone and competing gives children like Brody the opportunity to prove they’ve got what it takes and feel included.”

 Jill Lake, who received Gold in patterns at the DMA Sports Open started Taekwondo after moving over as a spectator at her 8 year old son’s training sessions to an active participant.    “It’s the best organised competition I’ve been to and it’s great that so many people have come to take part and support it. We’ve got a thriving Taekwondo community here in Plymouth!”

The DMA Sports Open will be held twice a year and will feature the following categories for all belts and ages: patterns, sparring, flying side kick and high kicks.