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Signal taekwondo students successful at regional championship

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Signal Mountain taekwondo students Austin Webb, Jason Whittemore and Dr. Paul Miranda, from left, gather at the regional taekwondo championships in Nashville. Webb won an honorable competitor award; Whittemore won a silver medal in sparring, and Miranda won a silver medal in forms. Contributed photo

Students of Mark Johnson’s Taekwondo Academy took their talent off the mountain as they participated in the regional championships at the Opryland Hotel.

“This was something fun that the kids could do to get them out of their comfort zone,” said Johnson. “Life is competitive ... This helps them control their nervousness and learn good skills for life.”

Johnson said that approximately 10 of his 120-plus students chose to compete in the tournament regardless of their age or experience level. Four of the students were adults. The only requirement was that students be members of the International TaeKwonDo Alliance.

“I just told them to trust their training and relax,” said Johnson, whose students range in age from 4 to 72. “They lived up to my expectations and some of them exceeded them.”

MORE INFORMATION

Mark Johnson’s Taekwondo Academy, 1227 Taft Hwy., can be reached by calling 886-1512 or e-mail Johnson at signalmountainta@bellsouth.net.

One particular star of the tournament, according to Johnson, was Dr. Paul Miranda, who took home a silver medal from his first tournament.

“I was pretty excited for him,” said Johnson.

Johnson said that interest in taekwondo has continued to increase over the years, as children and grownups are attracted to the physical and mental benefits of practicing the martial art. Johnson added that taekwondo provides many students who do not do well with other sports an opportunity to shine.

“We have a lot of students who don’t fit into other sports but really excel in this,” said Johnson. “It makes you focus better.”

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