May 22, 2013
Six Mount Shasta teens and pre-teens returned from the 44th UC Open Taekwondo Championships at UC Berkeley on May 4 with 10 medals competing in forms and contact sparring.
The Mount Shasta Martial Arts Program team members had the most success in the forms competition with three gold (Mehal Patel, 14; Vitaliy Tveritin, 12; and Lily Weaver, 11), one silver (Riley Witherell, 13), and one bronze (Brynn Witherell, 12).
“I took my time,” said Vitaliy in sharing what’s required to win forms (pre-arranged patterns of techniques that combine strong, precise movements with balance and grace).
Despite being nervous for various reasons, the team also added four silver medals by Brynn, Lily, Riley, Vitaliy, and bronze by Hari Simran (12) in sparring (full-contact striking to the body and controlled contact to the head while wearing protective padding).
“It was terrifying,” said Riley. “I kind of blacked out during sparring because I was so nervous. But, it was also fun getting to show what I could do.”
“I was nervous because I was competing as a red belt,” said Vitaliy, the team captain and veteran of the group competing in his third consecutive U.C. Open. “I was very excited about winning gold in forms for the first time. Although I lost in sparring, I’m still very happy because I did a kick I never did before a high front leg roundhouse.”
“Everyone did extremely well in forms because they ignored all the distractions of people and noise and nerves,” said MSMAP head coach Chuck Buhs. “They demonstrated power, confidence, and ease of motion. In sparring, we moved out of the way of attacks really well but took much too long to counter-attack. We have to be ready to move and respond instinctively and without any delay.”
Mehal, for one, is ready for more improvement. Buhs said Mehal showed superior technique and balance in the forms competition but is not satisfied with the outcome of his sparring match.
“I have a lot more to improve including speed and accuracy,” said Mehal. “I want to come back better next year and beat that guy!”
“Vitaliy doesn’t have to wait long for his chance to show his improvement,” said Buhs. “He and his family are returning to U.C. Berkeley in August for his junior black belt exam. In addition to sparring and forms, Vitaliy will get to demonstrate all his techniques and board breaks. His work ethic and family support will be important in the next few months, but the encouragement from his friends and training partners will be the final touch for his preparations.”
Lily’s parents already see significant positive changes in their daughter. “Lily returns to Mount Shasta with newfound inspiration regarding her training in martial arts,” said her mother, Robin. “The entire experience has made her more focused on what she wants to accomplish in her near and distant future. I am thrilled to have her want to be part of a community of young people that is so positively motivated and self disciplined.”
“We rocked!,” said Lily. “Competition is a very, very fun learning experience.”
“Competition in forms and sparring is one part of a complete martial arts education,” said Buhs. “The U.C. Open is an intense but friendly test of technique and skill against other people from around the state. Beyond the thrill of winning and losing, participants have the chance to face clear challenges while relying heavily upon their ability to adapt and simply do their best. Our hope is that they are motivated to achieve more in their training and in other areas of their lives.”
Brynn enjoyed “meeting new people and learning from them. I’m ready to learn more!”
“These kids gave one another tremendous support,” said Buhs. “And, they set impressive examples of how steady, smart effort pays off with results.”
MSMAP, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offers a variety of dynamic, invigorating, and modern martial arts training for children, teens, and adults six days each week. More information can be found on their website at www.MtShastaMA.org, email ( ), phone ( 530.859.2024 ), and on Facebook (MSMAP on Facebook).
Read more: Other articles about MSMAP’s successful competition experiences.
Go to: 2017 UC Open Taekwondo & Yongmudo Championships
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Go to: 2012 UC Open Taekwondo Championships
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Go to: 2011 UC Open Taekwondo Championships
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