Preparing for a national debut

Bailey McDonnell and Ava Dye proudly display their medals. Photo Submitted.

Northern Taekwon-do Academy starts the season strong

Sun Peaks’ Northern Taekwon-do Academy debuted their skill for the first time this season on Oct. 14 at the Sundance Friendship Tournament in Vernon and are now looking to build their skills for the Canadian Nationals in Calgary in November.

“They’re nervous,” said chief instructor Ryan Oevermann “It’s performance anxiety which I always tell the kids ‘If you use the nervousness as a fuel to practice and train, nervousness doesn’t go away entirely. But it leads to healthy performance anxiety which is motivating.’” .

For the six athletes who attended the Vernon competition, it was a chance to get a positive feeling around competition as each one placed in the top three in their respective belt categories.  

“It’s fun, it’s encouraging for the kids to go there and have a positive experience of competition because competition always pushes them in a healthy way to increase their skills and practise more,” said Oevermann.

Competing in his first taekwondo competition, Bailey McDonnell brought home a gold in pattern and a silver in sparring. Kaden MacGowan received a bronze in his pattern class, Jackson Atkinson got bronze in sparring and Montana Oevermann earned a silver in her pattern. Ava Dye took home the gold in pattern and a bronze in sparring for her belt category.

“Jackson had to work really hard because he was the smallest in his group,” said Ovevermann. “He had to implement some new strategies I had given him based on the competitors he had to go up against. Bailey, mostly for being his first competition, everything’s new to him. Little techniques and coaching strategies were put in place at the last second they both adapted really well to that.”

The Sundance Friendship Tournament brought together nearly 100 competitors from Sun Peaks to Castlegar, B.C. which is a modest-sized event compared to what the program will be up against in November with close to 600 athletes anticipated to compete at Nationals.

The Sun Peaks athletes will be preparing over the next few weeks.

“We’re going to be adding more sparring to our classes, we’re going to be doing more competitive style pattern classes. So I’ll be having students spar off against each other to compete, so they get used to that competition feeling,” said Oevermann.  

The Northern Taekwon-do Academy is a curriculum based academy in which students train at their own level and own speed. Classes run twice a week at the Annex. Registration for the program is ongoing.