Martial arts in the spotlight

Darrell Cole
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Local taekwondo school hosting regional competition Saturday at ARHS

AMHERST - Some of this region's top martial arts athletes will be in Amherst this weekend for what has become a showcase of the sport.
JC's TaeKwon-Do in Amherst is hosting its fifth Maritime Open Martial Arts Tournament on Saturday at Amherst Regional High School beginning at 9:30 a.m., and continuing through the day with friendly competition in taekwondo, kung fu and karate.
"We're expected between 140 and 150 competitors from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in what should be a day that showcases each of the martial arts," Jim Ripley said.
While the central location of the event makes it popular among competitors, Ripley said the competition is popular because it's a way for each of the sports to showcase themselves.
"It's a friendly competition. It's not something in which one is trying to show that it's better than the other, but it's an opportunity to show off what they can do," Ripley added.
"While they are going out there to win their matches, the emphasis is on showing what they can do."
Along with the competitors, the event attracts a number of fans including parents and family members, while Ripley said past events have also brought in a fair number of local fans.
The event will feature patterns and forms as well as sparring and high kicks. Ripley said some of the competitors can kick as high as nine feet while some of his own younger club members are able to kick seven feet or higher.
The event will also feature weapons demonstrations.
It is also one of the major fundraisers for the Amherst and Area TaeKwon-Do Parents Association.
The group is raising funds to send competitors to the world championships in Las Vegas later this month and to the nationals in Vancouver in November as well as the Eastern Canadian championships in Quebec and the Can-Am meet in Oakville, Ont.
Admission to Saturday's competition is $5 for adults and free of charge for children.

Organizations: Amherst Regional High School, Area TaeKwon-Do Parents Association

Geographic location: AMHERST, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Prince Edward Island Las Vegas Vancouver Quebec Oakville

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