Martial arts taking off in Craig

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The Craig Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts Institute recently attended the 10th annual Denver Martial Arts Championships at the Point Athletic Club in Denver and came back winners.

Approximately 150 students ranging in age from 3 years old to 55 years old participated in various competitions, including poomse (form) sparring and breaking as well as special demonstrations choreographed by the students.

"This tournament that we went to had over 150 students from Colorado and Wyoming," said head instructor Caitlin Turner. "Our students competed individually with people from different areas and with kids their own age."

Jerika Miller, a sixth-grade student at Craig Intermediate School, was named Junior Grand Champion.

Miller is a purple belt in taekwondo who has been studying martial arts at the Craig Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts Institute for the past two years.

"Jerika won one of the biggest awards in the whole tournament," said Turner. "She tied with another student for the grand champion and they had a tie off and she beat him. That was a big deal."

Adam Foster and Jerika Miller each won first place in the poomse event.

Finishing in second place were Eric Fleming and Taylor Hice.

Kody Fox, Mike Miller, Josiah Trujillo, Jayne Splitt and Kathleen Taylor all ended up in third place.

"During the year we will go to four tournaments," said Turner. "We will have another tournament coming up in November."

In the sparring division, Fleming, Kody Fox and Jerika Miller took home top honors. Second place went to Samantha Fox and Brett Koran.

Earning third place were Adam Foster, Taylor Hice, Alex Toribio, Erin Trujillo and Josiah Trujillo.

"When we have practice we always work on our punches, kicks and our blocks," said Turner. "Then we work on sparring and the things we do in the tournaments.The main idea for practice is to work on our own technique."

The institute is located in the Centennial Mall and taekwondo classes are taught by certified back belt instructors to students of all ages.

"You don't have to have any skills to join martial arts," said Turner. "It feels pretty weird at first, but then people get the skills down and they really enjoy it."

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