Martial arts tournament

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At the Gilpin Community Center

By Imy Rich

The Clear Creek-Gilpin Academy of Martial Arts hosted the spring tournament at the Gilpin County Community Center on Saturday, April 14th. Students began to arrive at 11 am, coming from Green Mountain Academy or Martial Arts, Lakewood Mountain Academy of Martial Arts, Gilpin and Clear Creek.

Starting off the tournament was a very exciting demonstration with many of the black belts and several red belts participating. With an amazing mix of good old rock and roll playing in the background, Grand Master Rankin cut in half four potatoes with his sword, held in the palms of two of his very trusting students. Several of Grand Master Rankins students and Master Bishops students performed the cane move for the audience. Ms. Rains and Mrs. Rich then placed patio stones onto the abdomen of two students, and then Mrs. Rich broke the patio stones into several pieces with a sledge hammer. Many of the red and black belts finished the demonstration with some creative free form one step, which is techniques that are done with a partner, one attacking the other, and can be done empty handed (no weapon) or with a weapon.

The littlest members, 4 to 6 year olds, participated in an obstacle course and sumo wrestling. The most interesting part of the tournament had to be the creative forms and creative weapons forms. This is an opportunity for the students to showcase their creativity. The competitors even came up with some fun names for many of these forms. We were lucky to have so many black belt judges in attendance, to help with scoring, there were many scores that were tied. At the end of the tournament the black belts voted for the best in show, which only goes to the one student who shows the most sportsmen like conduct and participates in as many competitions as possible. Sydney Skifstrom, from the Lakewood class, was the lucky winner of this prize, which was a full sized decorative sword and stand.

The winners were as follows:

Kinder Kicks obstacle course: Jaxon Skifstrom 1st place, Jacoda Mitchell 2nd place, and Cicilia Vergano 3rd place.

Kinder Kicks sumo wrestling: Cecilia Vegano 1st place, Erin Schwettman 2nd place, and 3rd place was a tie with Jaxon Skifstrom and Jacoda Mitchell.

Forms for the Kinder Kickers: Jaxon Skifstrom 1st place, Erin Schwettman 2nd place, and Cecilia Vergano 3rd place.

Forms for the older kids: Sydney Skifstrom 1st place, Rowan Moles 2nd place, and Willow Moles 3rd place. This group had to do 2 forms because there were so many tied scores on the first set of forms the judges could not come to an agreement.

Adult Forms: With more scores being tied in this division the students needed to perform two forms each. Chris Pearce 1st place, Steve Schwettman 2nd place, and Betsy Schwettman tied with Martin Prchal for 3rd place.

Creative Forms: All of the scores in this division were very close. Gryphin Kramer 1st place with “The Upside-down T,” 2nd was a tie with Rowan Moles performing “The Wheel,” which included two cartwheels and Nelson Long-Pearce performing “The Alley.” 3rd place went to Willow Moles for her creative handstand during “The Willow Tree.” We have to mention that Erin Schwettman also performed a creative form that was called “The Surprise after Form.”

Weapons forms done by the older kids: Sydney Skifstrom performing the tonfa 1st place, Willow Moles doing the cane 2nd place, and Nelson Long-Pearce with the sai 3rd place.

Adult Weapons forms: Martin Prchal 1st place, Steve Schwettman 2nd place, and Betsy Schwettman 3rd place.

Creative Weapons forms: Sydney Skifstrom 1st place, Gryphin Kramer 2nd place, and Nelson Long-Pearce 3rd place.

The sparring competition was a minute and a half long match. No kicks to the head, unless you are a red or a black belt, and the person you are sparring is a red or black belt. Scoring is to the core, kidneys and upper thighs. Judges also watch for excessive contact and going out of bounds.

Kinder Kickers Sparring: Jacoda Mitchell 1st place, Cecilia Vergano 2nd place, and Erin Schwettman took 3rd place.

Sparring for the older kids: Sydney Skifstrom 1st place, Rowan Moles 2nd place, and 3rd place went to Gryphin Kramer.

Adult Sparring: Chris Pearce earned 1st place, Steve Schwettmen 2nd place, and Betsy Schwettmen was 3rd place.

The most exciting sparring of the day was during the black belt matches: Isaac Hoffer in 1st place, Matt Vergano 2nd place, and Martin Prchal in 3rd place.

The wood breaking division is done with 1 to 5 pine boards cut at 1” x 12” x 8,” except the Kinder Kickers get 1” x 12” x 4.” There are only a couple rules that the students need to follow. Punches, if you are under the age of 16 must be done with a hand pad on. No speed breaks or power breaks, unless your instructor preapproves it.

Kinder Kicks Breaking: Erin Schwettman took 1st place with an impressive 3-board break, an ax kick, palm heal and bottom fist, Jaxon Skifstrom chose to break one board with an elbow, Cecilia Vergano and Jacoda Mitchell both chose to break one board with a palm heal tying for 3rd place.

Wood breaking with older kids: Gryphin Kramer 1st place, Sydney Skifstrom earned 2nd place, and Rowan Moles took 3rd place.

Wood breaking for adults, with six participants was difficult to score. Black belts Kyle Sappio and Matt Vergano both took 1st place, Steve Schwettman with his green belt received 2nd place, and 3rd place went to black belt Isaac Hoffer.

After a combined effort from everyone, including bystanders we cleaned up and then had a relaxing potluck in the multi-purpose room.

Many thanks to all the participants, parents, instructors, Gilpin Community Center employees for the success of this event, and even my mother, Marilyn Ayala for her help getting people signed in.

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