Truman students kick it for the gold

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Two black belt members of Kirksville Taekwon-Do — siblings junior Megan Matheney and junior Matthew Matheney — competed in Boston this summer at the International Taekwondo tournament and contributed to the 29 medals earned by the Kirksville Taekwon-Do, with Megan Matheney also earning the title of grand champion.

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The tournament had approximately 200 competitors in attendance, with Australia, Jamaica, Canada and the United States competing against each other, Megan Matheney said. She said Kirksville Taekwon-Do sent 11 competitors to Boston and brought back 15 bronze medals, six silver, and eight gold, in addition to her title as grand champion. Matthew Matheney said he earned bronze in all the categories at the International Taekwondo tournament.

Matthew Matheney said the tournament focused on three areas — patterns, sparring and breaking. He said patterns typically are organized by rank and age. For each rank, the competitors learn a specific set of patterns. He said there are two people competing against each other in front of a panel of five judges, and the pattern each competitor performs has to be from their set. Matthew Matheney said sparring is a continuous two-minute round with protective gear. There is a referee in the middle who makes sure things don’t get out of hand, he said, and a judge occupies each corner, taking scores. He said they tally the score and declare the winner, who then moves up the bracket. For breaking, Matthew Matheney said there is a series of breaks each competitor must complete. He said boards count as one point if the board is broken completely and half a point if the structure of board is gone but it didn’t break completely. He said those are then tallied up.

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Matthew Matheney said Taekwondo is a lifestyle, and requires a large amount of training time. He said starting young really helps build up character.

“Personally, I love the discipline,” Matthew Matheney said. “And the confidence you get from that. Not overconfidence. That gets knocked out of you fairly quickly.”

mem patterns (1)Megan Matheney, who will test for her fourth degree black belt during November, said she placed first in the patterns and sparring divisions, and third in breaking. Her performance in these categories earned her the title of grand champion, she said. Megan Matheney said grand champion is earned by winning all or most of the events one competes in, but the judging varies from tournament to tournament. She said the patterns division carries a lot of weight on the scoring because it’s supposed to demonstrate everything that you’ve learned up to this point. She said sparring also is a big contributor to earning grand champion, but breaking isn’t always a determining factor.

To learn more about the Taekwon-Do competition, read the rest on Issuu.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]