Kicking things off in style: St Andrews’ success in inter-uni competition

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Photo: Ian Cameron
Photo: Ian Cameron
Photo: Ian Cameron

Students from across Scotland gathered in Dundee last Saturday to compete in an inter-university Taekwon-do competition hosted by St Andrews instructors. This competition had representatives from the Universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and what we like to call the University of Life.

The action-packed day was split into three parts, with the children’s competition taking place in the morning, and then the coloured belts competing, followed by the black belts. The day was full of socialising, challenges, and some magnificent Taekwon-do, and all agreed that it was a truly successful event.

Both the colour belt and the black belt sections followed a similar sequence of events. The competition kicked off with patterns. These are a fixed set of self-defence movements against an imaginary foe. With their attention to detail and precise movements, the students from St Andrews won medals in each level that they had entered in this section.

The competition then continued with sparring where there was some trepidation, a lot of enthusiasm, and a smattering of bruises. Each sparring match was unique, with one competitor even comparing his sparring match to the legendary battle of David and Goliath. There were kicks that were as fast as lightning, and they were, truly, a little bit frightening.

Talking of frightening kicks, sparring was followed by special techniques. These involved a flying high kick and a flying side kick. These daunting techniques were attempted with gusto as all of the competitors (quite literally in some cases) threw themselves into it. In some cases, (coughs and looks around shiftily) the flying part of this category mainly meant falling over…

The final part of the competition has been renamed numerous times. It is officially known as power testing, but it is best described by its unofficial name – destruction. This involves breaking boards with a technique of your choosing. This can be anything from an elbow to a flying 360 reverse turning kick (the thought of which hurts my head working out what it even means!).

Every participant put their all into each section and this is apparent in the atmosphere. St Andrews did incredibly well in the competition. Out of the 15 categories that St. Andrews students entered, we came first in 12 of them. This is an amazing feat which is mostly due to the tireless efforts of our instructors, Miss Tate V Dan and Mr Dolan V Dan. If it were not for them hosting this competition, and taking so much care to train each of their students to the highest standard, it would have been impossible to have such a wonderful outcome.

Photo: Ian Cameron
Photo: Ian Cameron

Of course, as the saying goes, it is not the winning but the taking part that matters.  This was remarked upon by the captain of the team from Edinburgh University, who highlighted the atmosphere and the fact that “everyone was cheering and encouraging the participants… I really hope that these joint events and socials between the clubs become a regular thing.” This was a common theme throughout the day with the captain from St. Andrews stating that he “loved meeting competitors from all the other universities. They all came with excellent attitudes and vibrant personalities. A lot was learnt and a lot of new friendships were made.” It is in part due to this that Miss Tate declared that “this competition, more than any other we have hosted, embodied the spirit of Taekwon-do…. Well done to all.”

The St. Andrews Taekwon-do club trains on Mondays at 8.00 in the Sports Centre, Wednesdays at 8.15 in the Victory Memorial Hall, and Fridays at 7.30 in the Victory Memorial Hall. Additional information can be found on their website at  http://taekwondo.saints-sport.com/  or on the Facebook page.

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