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Sport Taekwondo Team Dominates The Field in 10-Team Tournament

By Rosemary Pike

The MIT Sport Taekwondo Club hosted the first Ivy Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League tournament of the 2005–2006 season on Sunday, Oct. 16. The event drew competitors from 10 different colleges, including MIT’s main rival, Cornell. The MIT team consisted of 38 competitors in forms and sparring.

The tournament started out strong with the forms competition (forms are pre-choreographed moves). The men’s black belt division was highly competitive. Out of 30 competitors, two MIT black belts qualified for the top 10: Conor F. Madigan G and Richard Sinn ’06. After a second round of scoring, Sinn received second place in forms. In the women’s division, Erica Y. Chan ’07 continued her dominance from the past season with vertical sidekicks, earning herself a second place as well.

The red belt division was solidly under control, with Grace Y. Kim G at second place; Club President, Alicia Y. Zhou ’06, secured third place. On the men’s side, John C. Ho G also earned third place. Bronze medals were given to blue belt Forrest W. Liau ’06, green belt Sarah P. Kama ’08, and green belt Richard-Duane S. Chambers G. At the close of the forms competition, MIT was up by only 10 points. But the margin was just about to widen.

The large black belt forms group meant a large A-Team sparring bracket, but the MIT teams were up to the challenge. MIT team A2 (Ryan B. Huang ’06, Ho, Jordan B. Brayanov G) faced a strong team from the Royal Military Academy of Canada. Huang got some solid kicks in on the RMC lightweight, who outweighed him by about 20 pounds. Ho fought hard for a 4-2 win, and Brayanov made his A-team debut and sparred an impressive match.

MIT A1 (Bobby B. Ren G, Madigan, Sinn) dominated the bracket with decisive wins against both Brown and Tufts. With every member undefeated, MIT A1 advanced to the finals against Cornell and again emerged victorious.

Meanwhile, the women black belts were collecting victories of their own. On the women’s A2 team, Karolina A. Corin G gained a solid lead on a Cornell lightweight. Sharon A. Lawrence ’07 sparred a tough match against the Cornell middleweight, but her MIT A2 teammate, Kim, clinched the victory by defeating the heavyweight.

MIT A1 (Zhou, Chan, Rosemary E. Pike ’07) faced off with the Harvard A1. Because of Zhou’s automatic victory (Harvard had no lightweight), Chan guaranteed the win with an impressive headshot, ending her bout with a score of 7-4. This allowed the two MIT teams to meet in the finals, where MIT A2 bowed out to MIT A1, securing both the gold and silver!

C-Team sparring quickly followed A-Team, and the new club members showed off their skills. The MIT C3 team (Christopher J. Han ’09, Stephen H. Petraeus ’09, Harpreet Singh G) defeated Cornell C2. MIT C1 (Darren M. Chun ’07, Chambers, Vladimir V. Barzov ’06) won their way to third place in the division. The women’s matches were also successful: Yunji Wu ’09, and Corinna Hui ’09 eliminated Brown and fought a tough match against Cortland. Wu and Hui managed to take third place with a two-player team.

The last round of matches was B-Team. The men’s B2 team defiantly took the opportunity to shine. Chun, Brayanov, Liau, Chambers, and Julius Y. Strauss ’06 defeated Tufts B1 by 6-3 in the middleweight division and 9-8 in heavy. The team made it to the semis, where they bowed out to their teammates on B1 to get the bronze.

Huang, Ho, Barzov, Strauss, and Chambers (B1) fought match after match through the bracket. At the very end of the day, they met Cornell in the finals where Ho and Barzov both forced their opponents to withdraw, and Huang bowed out due to injury (after an amazing victory earlier in spite of his leg). MIT B1 emerged with gold.

The women’s B-team matches were exciting battles. MIT’s B2 (Chen, Jennifer L. Caplin ’07, and Gladys E. Priso G) destroyed Cornell B2 with a lightweight win 12-7, middleweight 10-9, and a default heavy win. Chen also sparred an excellent match against Cornell B1. Caplin had some good points, but had to withdraw due to injury. The team ended their fight in third place.

Zhou, Lawrence, Kim, Wu, and Priso (B1) blew away the competition, once again defeating a Cornell team in the finals to secure first place.

The points won by team members in each division were totaled for each team’s cumulative score. As the day drew to a close, MIT was clearly dominating the tournament, with a final score of 670 points, compared to Cornell in second with 370. With a tournament at Cornell in less than three weeks, however, the team is already focusing on the next challenge.