Coach Carl van Roon, an 11-time world taekwondo champion from New Zealand, works with Sundance and Canadian National Team member Brianna Li in Vernon. (Photo Submitted)

Vernon students medal

International Taekwon-do Federation Alberta Cup in Lethbridge

Sundance Taekwon-Do in Vernon pocketed six medals at the 2018 International Taekwondo Federation Alberta Cup in Lethbridge last Saturday.

The championships featured more than 300 competitors from all over Western Canada in a highly contested event attended by 20-plus teams.

Olivia Apsassin of Sundance won gold in the 8-9-year old green belt girls sparring and silver in patterns. Her older sister, Courtney Jack, brought home the gold in junior girls green belt sparring and a bronze in patterns.

Also competing as a colour belt was Cashus Christholm, who fought to a double overtime, bagging bronze in sparring and silver in patterns.

Brianna Li had a showing in the black belt category, medaling in three of her categories. She claimed a silver medal in patterns and lost a nail-biter match for gold in the Junior Girls heavyweight sparring final before taking bronze in special technique (flying kicks).

“It’s incredible to see all of our athletes and families travel and support each other in their competitive endeavours,” said Sundance head coach David White. “Although taekwondo is an individual sport, it is also the club and team environment that helps us train and gives us the confidence boost to achieve our goals.”

Sundance members are looking forward to several upcoming events, including the ITF World Cup in Sydney, Australia and the Canadian Nationals and Team Selections in Calgary. The club is currently looking for sponsors. Those who would like more information about taekwondo can visit or call 250-306-2285.

Taekwondo practitioners from all over B.C. and Alberta were recently at Sundance Taekwon-Do in Vernon to train with one of the most highly rated competitors of an entire generation.

Carl van Roon is an 11-time world champion in International Taekwondo Federation competition. He is a prominent member and coach of the New Zealand national team and trains athletes in several martial arts disciplines.

His martial arts experience is extensive holding different black belt ranks in ITF Taekwon-Do, Olympic Taekwondo and karate. He is well known throughout the world for his dynamic kicking abilities and footwork.

The 34-year-old from Auckland is also a sports scientist with a master’s degree in Sport and Exercise Science, specializing in mindset coaching and a post-graduate diploma in exercise rehabilitation. He uses this education an applies the concepts to martial arts allowing students to truly understand the mechanics of movement and the mindset of combat sports.

“This was such a great opportunity for our students to train with such a highly skilled athlete and coach. The atmosphere and the material were absolutely inspiring,” said White. “This was a rare opportunity for 17 colour belts and 30 black belts to train with one of the most decorated ITF Taekwon-Do practitioners in the world today. He only made four stops on his Canadian tour with the others being in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City.”

The seminar consisted of six sessions over two full days and covered everything from basic to advanced footwork, dynamic kicking, special technique (flying kicks), self-defence applications and mobility for better kicking.

“Students were able to gain valuable insight into what it takes to rise to the top of your dedicated sport. Athletes as young as 10 were in attendance for this dynamic and inspiring weekend of training,” added White.

Said van Roon: “Coaching at Sundance Martial Arts in Vernon was an absolute pleasure. Mr. David White and his team are a force to be reckoned with in the Pacific Northwest. They are gaining momentum as the innovators in the martial arts community here and I was impressed with the depth and quality of talent that was attracted to the event.”

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