Craig Tae kwon do students bring home hardware

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— Self-defense. An objective mind and discipline. And, a few awards along the way.

These are the items Colorado Tae kwon do second-degree instructor Jason Walker said he hopes the students of his class walk away with.

The award part fell into place last weekend.

The team competed in the All City Championships on May 3 in Lakewood, and Walker said the event was a success.

Team members placed first in five events during the six-team tournament.

"This is the best we've done in a long time," he said. "It's been six years since we've had a team this strong."

Bretta Buchanan and Gage Rowley earned first in sparring (one, 2-minute round against an opponent) Secia Corball earned first in first-point (two competitors spar - the first to earn a point is declared winner) and Hannah Walker claimed first in sparring and first-point.

Jason Walker has been at the helm of Colorado Tae kwon do for the past eight years. The class has been participating in tournaments across the state for the past 25 years.

"The kids had a really good time this year," he said. "A lot of them went to their first tournament last weekend. They learned a lot of firsts and got a good sense of what it's like competing in front of large crowds."

Chanda Walker knows what it's like.

The 14-year-old earned her black belt last year.

She has been involved in Tae kwon do for eight years, seven of them dedicated to obtaining the black belt status.

"It took me a long time to get my belt," she said. "But I love to do this. It's a lot of fun. You meet new friends and have a good time. It's something I will do forever."

Walker said one of the biggest things she has learned through martial arts is self-defense.

"I'm ready for anything," she said. "It has helped me to be more confident in everything that I do."

And that's what Jason Walker wants to hear.

"We help these kids gain a lot of self-confidence that they can use further along in life," he said. "They learn that they have the strength to do whatever they want. And, that you really can chase your dreams."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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