L-R: Scott Robertson, Abigail Robertson, Caleb Bernhardt, Vijesh James and Oliver Marsh (missing) took part in the online Korean Consul General Cup. Photo: Submitted

L-R: Scott Robertson, Abigail Robertson, Caleb Bernhardt, Vijesh James and Oliver Marsh (missing) took part in the online Korean Consul General Cup. Photo: Submitted

Local martial artists win at online provincial tournament

Kootenay Martial Arts had five athletes participate in the Korean Consul General Cup

Submitted by Kootenay Martial Arts/Martial Arts for Justice

Local martial artists competed to win the title in their respective categories at this year’s annual B.C. Taekwondo Federation Korean Consul General Cup online poomse championship in December. This event was sponsored by BC TKD federation in conjunction with the Korean Consul in Vancouver.

Several students from Kootenay Martial Arts in Nelson took part in the event. Scott Robertson finished second, Caleb Bernhardt earned silver, Vijesh James and Abigail Robertson each had third-place finishes, and Oliver Marsh came in fifth.

The students were asked to video tape there poomses and send in to be judged by international referees from seven different countries. More than 500 taekwondo participants from across B.C. participated.

COVID-19 has really taken a toll on most schools across the province but because of BC TKD Federation and other venues, there is still options for the students training in taekwondo to benefit over these challenges months.

Resilience is the key to keep going, never give up! For more information about KMA visit our website www.nelsonmartialarts.ca.

Martial arts students also showed their own personal resilience Dec. 12 by stepping forward to participate in the annual fundraising campaign aimed at preventing violence and trauma.

“Martial arts instructors are an inspiration to their students showing them that through their martial arts they can directly have an effect to build a better world and prevent violence,” says Master Dean Siminoff, founder of Martial Arts for Justice (MAJ).

This year in 2021, MAJ plans to help 500 genocide survivors in Rwanda become empowered and overcome their trauma by providing their unique Enhanced Resilience Training. MAJ’s mission is to protect vulnerable people from violence and oppression through the platform of martial arts.

Martial arts schools participated with their students in a board breaking competition to raise money for MAJ to work with victims of trauma and violence. Other schools from around Vancouver, Nelson and Castlegar and as far away as Whitehorse also participated. This was the first Zoom event of this kind that featured special guests, martial arts celebrities, Mayor Malcolm Brody from Richmond and Mayor John Dooley from Nelson, who each delivered key messages about this important work.

Another theme echoed by the mayors and everyone was the resilience shown by the students to continue helping others even through our own adversities this past year. The event video is on our YouTube channel for those who want to see it. Martial arts students collected pledges and broke their boards at home or at their martial arts school, during a live streaming event and showcased all the students who have helped raise money.

“The pandemic and the lockdowns are taking their toll everywhere particularly in areas with high rates of poverty. Studies unfortunately show that the effects of lockdowns increase the negative effects of those already suffering of post-traumatic stress disorder and domestic violence, especially gender-based violence, increases,” says Siminoff.

COVID-19 this past year caused a big delay in our work, but Siminoff says he has been working with his team there to keep up the momentum.

“Our plans have adjusted but our work and its importance hasn’t,” he says.

As of now project Rusizi Resilience is moving ahead but we still need help this year. Anyone who cares about fighting gender violence and trauma can donate or get involved at www.martialartsforjustice.org.

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