News: Kicking it with champions
Story by Sgt. Robert Golden
FORT BLISS, Texas – The U.S. Armed Forces Taekwondo Team led a class Oct. 2 at the Logan Heights School Age Center here, to teach younger martial artists the “way of the foot and hand.”
The Armed Forces team is here preparing for the 22nd World Military Taekwondo Championship, Oct. 15–20, in which military athletes from 25 countries will battle to become known as a world taekwondo champion.
The team made time in their intense training schedule to share their skills and knowledge of the sport with children enrolled in the Army’s Child, Youth and School Services program.
The 13-member taekwondo team split the class of approximately 50 students into groups to lead them through the various kicks and punches of the sport while helping the children improve their form.
“I love interacting with the kids to motivate them and maybe inspire them to one day take our place in the sport and in the military,” said Air Force Capt. Ascenzo Bonitati, stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kan.
Every year, the team visits patients in hospitals or teaches taekwondo classes to give back to the community, said Master Sgt. Kevin Williams, 7th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, Schweinfurt, Germany.
“Honestly, it feels great,” said Sgt. Louis Davis, a U.S. Armed Forces Taekwondo team member who took home the silver medal during the 2009 U.S. National Taekwondo competition. “I have a 5-year-old daughter following in my footsteps, and the children’s spirit is what drives me forward.”
After sharing their training techniques with the future taekwondo martial artists, the team will return their focus to the tournament. Because of other duties and military commitments, they don’t get to train together often like other professional teams.
“We have a lot of work to do to compensate for a whole year of training with only three weeks to do it, but I feel we are going to do great at the tournament,” said Williams, head coach of the U.S. Armed Forces Taekwondo team.
The opening ceremony for the event is scheduled for 7 p.m., Oct. 15 in the Mitchell W. Stout Physical Fitness Center, located at 2930 Cassidy Road.
For more information, visit www.blissmwr.com or call 744-5798.