Cary, NC – With martial arts offering both self-defense training as well as creative performance, several Cary taekwondo students competed in the U.S. Open Taekwondo Hanmadang, taking home top medals in the process.
Top Taekwondo Accolades
Students at Cary’s White Tiger Taekwondo and Martial Arts on NW Maynard Road traveled to Colorado this past weekend to compete in the 10th annual U.S. Open Taekwondo Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28, 2018, which had more than 1,000 competitors from all over the world.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art with an emphasis on kicks and jumping. In addition to teaching taekwondo, White Tiger also has a Lady Tiger program which teaches self-defense techniques from a variety of martial arts.
Heidi Rerecich competed along with her sons Noah and Dominick and won a gold medal for Individual Power Break Knife Hand and a silver medal for Individual Creative Board Break. Rerecich said this was the largest competition she had ever been to, but it was also the most friendly. This was also her first time doing board-breaking in a competition.
“These were one-inch pine board with no spacers in between and I broke three,” Rerecich said. “You’ve got to really focus on getting through the board and not being scared. If you stop, you’ll hurt yourself. It’s about eliminating doubt and getting into the right mind-set. It’s more mental than physical.”
Other Cary White Tiger students who won medals and accolades at the U.S. Open include:
- Nicholas Champitto – Honorable Mention, Individual Traditional Form
- Henry Ho – Gold Medal, Individual Traditional Form; Gold Medal, Team Traditional Form
- Ross Jones – Silver Medal, Individual Traditional Form; Bronze Medal, Highest Jumping Snap Kick
- Noah Rerecich – Gold Medal, Team Traditional Form; Bronze Medal, Individual Traditional Form
- Dominick Rerecich – Silver Medal, Individual Creative Board Break
- Olivia Ross – Honorable Mention, Highest Jumping Snap Kick; Honorable Mention, Individual Traditional Form
Rondy McKee, owner of White Tiger, said she is proud of her students, particularly with so many young ones joining the competition and holding their composure on such a large stage. McKee said in preparation for the U.S. Open, there were not only more classes but more focused and refined training.
“They worked on the skills they would be performing. It was a lot of extra work over a couple of months ahead of the competition,” McKee said. “And they’ve already started training for 2019 so it’ll be exciting to see how they do with a full year of extra training.”
Benefits of Martial Arts
Rerecich, now also an instructor at White Tiger, said she only started taekwondo training five years ago when she and her family moved to Cary.
“I wanted to sign up my son to help learn focus and gain structure. I planned to only get one uniform and I left with three,” Rerecich said. “It’s brought our family closer together and we’ve all gained something out of it. There’s a saying at the school: ‘The family that kicks together, sticks together.'”
Rerecich said she encourages everyone, regardless of age or what they feel their physical limits are, to take up martial arts and said it has “no boundaries.”
“I’ve gained confidence and leadership skills and I have a sense of protection,” she said. “It’s not a competition against another person; it’s a competition with yourself.”
She said her two medals are a “mind-blowing accomplishment” and said it is further proof of what people can do if they start training.
White Tiger Taekwondo and Martial Arts is located at 1605 NW Maynard Rd.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of Rondy McKee. Content is sponsored in part by Cary Downtown Farmers Market.