Tae Kwon Do

 Seven Virgin Islands Tae Kwon Do schools participated in a Juniors’ tournament on Sunday, March 16, 1997 at Central High School gymnasium on St. Croix.

 The tournament featured 5 to 16 year old boys and girls competing in categories by age and belt rankings. The young martial artists competed for gold, bronze and silver medals in Forms and Sparring.

 Forms competitions are judged by a panel and numbering system similar to ice skating. The competitors one by one go through a series of dance-like motions and poses. This exercise is meant to display a martial artist’s grasp of the techniques of martial arts. In a forms competition you will see kicks, jumps, thrusts and spins performed while the judges looks for technique, control and balance.

 In sparring, contenders square off against each other in two minute rounds. In Juniors competition blows cannot be aimed at the legs, head, back or groin. Two judges sit at opposite corners of an 18 foot by 18 foot square “ring”. A referee stands into to keep the contestants from killing each other. During the match, contestants try to score points by hitting or kicking contacts to the chest and sides. Additionally, the blows must be consistent with good tae kwon do technique to score.  At the end of two minutes, the contestant with the highest score is declared the winner.

 There are many good Tae Kwon Do schools on St. Thomas, St. John and St.Croix,  some commercial schools and some non-profit. In fact, the school coming away with the most medals in the competition was the Virgin Islands Government’s Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation Tae Kwon Do program.

 This program holds practice three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons on  St. Thomas at the Winston Raymo Recreation Center in Hospital Ground. The Sensei (teacher) is Curtis Payne and the recreation center can be called at (340) 774-2640 for more information. 

Photographs and Commentary by Karl Callwood