Martial artists from around the nation kick it up at Winchester tournament

Published 12:59 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

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In business for just one year, Allegiance Martial Arts owner Mason Reece has already begun impacting the Winchester-Clark County area.

That was best seen at the College Park Fitness Center gymnasium on July 23rd. Over 200 competitors participated in a Class B tournament called Kickin’ It in Kentucky’ that saw both young and old compete during what may be one of the first Taekwondo tournaments to take place here in Winchester.

“It was a big learning experience for a lot of our students because a lot were so new. They’d never been in a tournament”, said Reece. “It was a good opportunity for them to learn and grow, and I was quite shocked to see that a lot of our students actually took home first, second, and third place trophies.”

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The tournaments included forms, sparring, combat weapons, creative and extreme martial arts.

Each category was performed in front of a panel of judges.

The creative category allowed contestants to perform orchestrated moves to a personal music selection. The extreme martial arts category saw contestants perform flips, backflips, cartwheels, and more with weapons in hand.

“It was a pretty big success on our part,” Reece said.

Allegiant Martial Arts belongs to Region 106, which encompasses the area between Kentucky and the southern to the central area of Indiana. Individuals from Maryland, New York, and California were also present.

Competitors included three to six-year-olds, seven to 13-year-olds, and those ages 14 and up. The groups are referred to as tiny tigers, color belts, and adults.

Also present at the competition was Grandmaster nominee Phil Minton of Indiana, a ninth-degree black belt.

“The more people that you have come to your competition, the more likely that your organization is willing to make it a bigger tournament for you,” Reece said. “I’m hoping that we get another Class B [tournament] since this one was so successful, and maybe they’ll even update it to what’s called a Class A [tournament].”

Reece is a military veteran and teaches other forms of martial arts, such as Krav Maga – a self-defense and fighting system initially developed for the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli security forces.

The eastern Kentucky native – who acknowledges that martial arts training helped get him through some difficult times when he was younger – believes it beneficial for others as well.

“It taught me life skills, respect, how to have courage, and self-restraint,” Reece says. “It teaches you so much more than that.”