Eight members of Bainbridge Island’s Pacific Fusion Premier Martial Arts team won titles at the Taekwondo National Championships in Las Vegas.
The athletes entered in 29 divisions and earned 27 medals: 23 won gold and became national champs. All eight won at least one title with some winning two and three and one even winning six. In some cases athletes earned multiple national championships in various divisions.
Many had no experience in competitive martial arts, with half just starting this season. They also earned numerous silver and bronze medals for sparring, weapons and forms at the championships in July. Every athlete earned medals at AAU Taekwondo Nationals in Intermediate, Advanced ranks.
It was especially challenging given that the team had no local or regional face-to-face events since February of 2019 because of COVID-19 restrictions, a news release from the club says. Their competitors in many cases came from states that did not have many or any restrictions for local and regional events and were training indoors without masks since mid-2019.
Pacific Fusion has trained indoors with masks and continues to do so for the safety of others and respect to their fellow student’s safety and the well-being of the community.
Pacific Fusion has been working out at its Sportsman Club Road site and has been attending state and regional tournaments virtually for their safety this year and last year in preparation for nationals.
All of the athletes have also been practicing by attending regular martial arts classes at Pacific Fusion, as well as special competition team practices, training as much as 10 hours a week.
Champions include: Ruth Ard, Sunny Gregson, Dan Gregson, Allie Kimzie, Garrett Kimzie, Jeff O’Meara, Lauren Roger and Grace Tuchel. They are coached by grand master Ken Aduddell, master Stephanie Aduddell, Drew Mendoza, Merida Prentice and Lillian Aduddell.