Cloverdale Black Belt Academy members recently competed in a couple of U.S. tournaments for the first time in two years.
Karen and David Bennett, along with their son Michael Bennett and a handful of their students, represented Cloverdale Black Belt Academy in two tournaments that make up the world championships.
The first tournament, the Tournament of Champions, is held as a “closer” to the tournament season, in this case 2021-2022. Top competitors from that previous season compete over three days for top honours in eight different events.
In the Tournament of Champions, held in Phoenix July 13-15, David said four students from Cloverdale Black Belt Academy took part along with Karen Bennett.
“This was the first World Championships that we have been able to participate in since 2019,” explained David. “Karen won two gold medals earning her the World Champion title in the Masters Division for Creative Weapons and Extreme Weapons.
“One of our younger Canadian competitors, Talon Madden, won a silver medal in Combat Weapons Sparring in the 11 to 12 year old 1st Degree Black Belt division.”
David said the second tournament, the World Championships, kicks off the next tournament season (2022-2023). More than 2,300 athletes from more than 10 countries participated in the championships, which was held at the same Phoenix venue July 16-17.
“We had five students competing,” explained David. “Talon Madden had two first- and two second-place finishes. Michael Bennett placed second. Karen Bennett had a third-place finish. I had a third-place finish. And Eugeniusz Warezak had four fourth-place finishes.”
David said the Canadian Legends Team (over 40), coached by Michael, placed second in Combat Weapons Sparring and third in Sparring.
Cloverdale Black Belt Academy participates in American Taekwondo Association (ATA) Martial Arts. ATA has more than 300,000 members worldwide and, since its founding in 1969, has trained more than one million students. ATA’s annual tourney circuit consists of regional, district, national, and world championships.
“Cloverdale Black Belt Academy is planning to host a regional tournament in December,” David said. “(It) will be the first Canadian ATA regional tournament since the last time we hosted in November 2019, prior to the pandemic.”
David said athletes earn berths in higher tournaments by racking up placing points. Athletes can earn points for coming in first, second, or third in various events for their age and category.
“At the end of the tournament year, competitors in the top ten for points in each category compete at the Tournament of Champions,” David explained. “This completes the tournament season as a world champion in each event is decided.”