|Staff photo/By Jason Norman From
left, Raven Morris, Thomas Harbour, Andrew
Simsonsen, Kendall Worrell and Kathy Cooper, all
members of the Warriors Club of Suffolk, show
their winnings from the Virginia State Taekwondo
Commonwealth Games in Midlothian last weekend.
Breaking through to the
That's all that stood between Raven Morris and her
second gold medal of the Virginia State Taekwondo Commonwealth
Games in Midlothian last weekend. In her first contest, the
Mount Zion Elementary School student had already brought home
top honors in Forms competition, and now looked to smash
through to first in breaking.
In breaking, participants
kick through three six-inch boards (more experienced students
compete with foot-long wood). Judges held the three boards in
the air, and Raven kicked into action.
Her first axe
kick snapped the board in half. She turned to the second, and
hurled a side kick into it. The board held, but that only made
her more determined, and her foot won the battle on the second
try. Then she slammed down on the third one.
Another effort also proved unsuccessful. At this point, Raven
knew that she'd have to blast it fast to have a shot.
The wood didn't stand a chance. Her
third kick whacked it right in half, and Raven had secured her
second gold of the day.
"I felt really mad," she said.
"I wanted to kick it into a million pieces! I was so proud of
myself afterward." She took first in sparring later
At the start, she said, "I was very, very nervous.
But I'm a fast learner."
She ran through a set of Forms
(fighting stances) to start off with a big win. "When they
called my name," she said, "I was so excited that I almost
jumped off the win block! I felt so happy!"
Andrew Simsonsen, a fellow member of Wayne Spencer's Warrior
Club of Suffolk, psyched himself up for his own sparring
contest. The only yellow belt, he'd have to battle a green
(i.e. higher ranked) competitor.
But Simsonsen wasn't
too worried. "At every single competition, I've had to fight
someone with more experience," he said. "I kind of expected
He and his opponent strapped on their helmets,
chest pads, and arm protectors, which protect the forearms.
Sparring battles are held in two two-minute periods.
had to hit and move, just like in class," he said. Simsonsen
did so in the first period, battering his opponent with
roundhouse and side kicks. However, the judges didn't seem to
see it, as the first period ended at 0-0 (to score, two of the
three judges must award the fighter a point).
frustrated," Simsonsen said. "I'd been hitting him in the head
and gotten in some solid kicks, but no points." With 20
seconds left in the match, however, he landed a solid shot to
his opponent's chest.
Then he went on the defensive. "I
backed up and moved around, because I knew I probably wouldn't
score again," he said. "I was just being cautious." It worked;
his opponent wasn't able to get off a solid shot, and
Simsonsen got the gold. He also took second in
Last June 5, Kendall Worrell competed in Forms
in the Battle of the 7 Cities event held at Virginia Beach's
Little Creek Amphib Base. Though he didn't place, the
Southwestern Elementary student was hungry for more at the
It showed, as he charged through
his routine to take the top spot in Forms. "I was easy, but I
was still surprised," he said on winning. "It's always fun to
He had even more fun in the breaking event,
nabbing the top spot in three kicks. "It doesn't really hurt,
because I've broken a lot of boards at home. That's my
favorite event, because I really like breaking stuff." He also
finished third in sparring.
While Kendall prefers
breaking things, Kathy Cooper would rather show her formidable
Form skills. "I'm really good at it," she said. "In sparring,
you have to beat someone better, but in Forms, you're
competing at your own level. I got really nervous, but it will
probably be pretty easy next time."
Not that she needs
much help there - Kathy finished second in sparring and third
in breaking at the Games.
Thomas Harbour, who won first
in sparring and second in Forms at the Virginia Beach event,
finished second in sparring at the Games. "I think I got a lot
faster and hit harder (than at Virginia Beach)," he said. "I'm
going to try harder, because my teacher told me that if I
compete at another tournament, I can move up to my blue