Press release from Blue Ridge Taekwondo:
Blue Ridge Taekwondo will be hosting the Regional “Elevate Your Game” American Taekwondo Foundation (ATF) Tournament, the first of its kind in the region. The tournament will feature students from all around the country participating in competitive forms and sparring, plus creative board breaking, and will be presided over by Grand Master YS Chung, founder of the ATF.
“We are very excited to be able to host the tournament this year,” said Blue Ridge Taekwondo Owner, Alana Johnson. “Grand Master Chung is a phenomenal martial artist, a ninth degree black belt who trained American troops in hand-to-hand combat, and to be able to bring him to this area is a rare treat.”
Grand Master Chung is originally from Seoul, South Korea. He was a Republic of Korea Marine who was brought to the United States to teach martial arts to US military personnel. In 1988, Chung founded the American Taekwondo Foundation to spread the benefits and disciplined instruction of traditional Korean martial arts throughout many communities in the US, and reinforce the values of the Tenets of Taekwondo in each ATF-certified school: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit.
To Alana Johnson of Blue Ridge Taekwondo, the practice is more than just physical exercise and discipline.
“It literally saved my life. It became a grounding center for me in my time of crisis and allowed me to realize my worth as a human being. After being so revolutionary to me, I founded my own school to help pass on that experience to others. In fact, my whole family, and other whole families practice here together.”
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that emphasizes kicks, speed, and agility, developed in the 1940’s and 50’s with influence from karate, chinese martial arts, and indigenous martial arts traditions. Taekwondo has the most powerful kicks in all martial arts; “taekwondo” literally translates to “the way of the hand and foot”. There are several Taekwondo studios in the area and classes entail learning forms, self-defense techniques, sparring, and board breaking with a focus on discipline, etiquette, respect and self-confidence.
The Elevate Your Game Tournament is an opportunity for local ATF students to participate in healthy competition, with themselves and with others from around the country, and host a positive event here in the heart of our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The tournament will be held on Saturday, September 15 from 9 am – 4 pm at the UNC-Asheville Justice Center gym. The black belt tournament starts at 9 am, the board breaking competition is at 11 am, and the color belt tournament is held at 12 noon. Public is encouraged to attend. Spectator fee is $5.
Blue Ridge Taekwondo was founded in 2014 by Alana Johnson, a third degree high senior black belt. Taylor Jenkins, a fourth degree senior black belt, is also an ATF-certified instructor there, as well as red stripe trainee instructors James McGee, Alexia Wilson, and Abegael Johnson, and several junior instructors. Blue Ridge Taekwondo teaches ages 4 through adult and focuses on personal empowerment and transformation, integrity, and building a community of learning and growth.