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"Fabulous event"

"Best tournament I've been to, very well organised & entertaining"

"A spectacular day!"

These were just some of the comments from spectators at "Taekwon-do Explosion 2003", a Taekwon-do tournament with a difference.

This years event was sponsored by 'Blue Eagle Martial Arts Supplies' and consisted of ITF patterns, Continuous Sparring, Black Special Technical Destruction, a special `Flying Blue Eagle` division, 100 in Blue Eagle prize vouchers for the overall winner, music, great food & fantastic trophies, hence the above comments.

Booming music via Linkin Park got the crowd ready in anticipation for the day's events. After a short
introduction by tournament host Stuart Anslow the day kicked off with the Junior Grade (white to green belt) 8
to 11 year old patterns. A fairly large division, with some good performances all round. Aden Ali, his brother
Aydem Ali (both from the LTA) & Sarah Campbell (London Panthers) all stood out to win gold, silver & bronze
respectively, the Ali brothers confusing everyone with their names, Ian Brown (Berkhamstead UKTA) also gave
a fine performance & was unlucky not to place.

After a family victory in the previous division, it happened again. Some great performances from Firooz Nadiree
& brother Yousef (both Rayners Lane TKD) secured them silver & bronze positions, with fellow academy,
Farid Ahmed topping them both to claim the gold with an excellent Do-San tul!

In the Adult Junior Grades (white to yellow belt), a mixed division of male & female, it was a clean sweep for
Rayners Lane Academy, with Bako Kadir, Wiwat Simanurak & Albert Huynh claiming gold, silver & bronze. However Susan Neskovic from the London Panthers gave Albert a tough time after tying for bronze with a great performance & was unlucky.

In the Adult Green Belt patterns, a storming performance of Won-Hyo tul by Justin Goh (Rayners Lane) took him towards the gold; with fellow club mate David Lane claiming silver with a good performance of Yul-Gok tul. In the bronze position Grace Kibblewhite from St Albans UKTA showed fine form with some excellent patterns & from Precision TKD, Olek Gajownikczek was extremely unlucky not to place after tying with two others earlier on.

In the Senior Patterns (blue & red belts), under 14`s, Kanai Brand (Rayners Lane) drew with club mate
Dev Patel for gold or silver. After a second round, Kanai claimed victory, leaving Dev to settle for the silver, but
both impressed the judges greatly. Akikur Rahman from London Taekwon-do Academy pushed the other
competitors to the rear to claim the bronze position.

In the Adult Senior Patterns, Minto Bose from Luton UKTA shone through & deservedly won the gold. But, he
was closely followed by Parvez Sultan from Rayners Lane & Lyndsey Reynolds, also from Rayners Lane (whom
both drew in the first round) & took the silver & bronze positions respectively.

In the Adult Black Belt Patterns, Gordon Slater (Essex GTI) performed a formidable rendition of Yoo-Sin tul to
rightly scoop the gold position. The silver position went to Rayners Lane's Vikram Gautam, with a tired competition organizer (that's his excuse anyway!) & Rayners Lane Instructor only managing the bronze.

The next division was appropriately named 'Flying Blue Eagle' a new division, which was brilliantly received by the crowd. A simple concept where competitors had to perform a flying sidekick over an obstacle (that got higher each round), hit the target & land on their feet (no more flying bamboo sticks from days gone by here). This division was open to all grades from white to black belts that were over 14 & over. It was heavily contested from all schools with over 25 competitors starting off. As the obstacles went higher & higher, the
competitors became fewer & fewer until there were only two. Sadly, after an outstanding performance off Twinyo Yop
Cha Jirugi by Luton UKTA student Kyle Nagle, he was pipped at the post by Rayners Lane's instructor Stuart Anslow,
but because of his exceptional performance, which impressed everyone, Mr Anslow awarded Kyle a silver place
trophy in what was originally a winner takes all division.

Following straight on from this was the Black Belt technical Destruction. First up was Stuart Anslow who performed
a reverse knife hand downward strike through a stack of 10 tiles followed straight away by a jumping split kick
through two boards. Next up was Gordon Slater of Essex TKD who performed a flying high hick, followed by a high
flying side kick (2boards), straight into a reverse punch followed by a jumping back kick onto three thick wood boards.
Vikram Gautam of Rayners Lane demonstrated a blind folded jumping back kick break which enthralled the crowd,
Kam Bains (KBSOMA) demonstrated a reflex kick & finally Chris Sturt perform consecutive kicks through three
target areas of 2 boards each (turning, side & back kick all off the same leg chambered position).

After a short break (no pun intended) it was time to start the sparring divisions. The black belts set the pace & were up first. Unfortunately, due to a couple of competitors dropping out, Mr Anslow had to fight Ahmed Farhad, his own student in the final, but it was still an exciting fight. In the +75kg division, the semi finals saw Gordon Slater face Kam Bains in an entertaining bout, and Vikram Gautam (Rayners Lane) face Chris Sturt (Essex TKD) which was unfortunately shortened considerably due to a lovely jumping back kick by Vikram in the first 5 seconds of the match, which unluckily caught Chris straight in the face & it was decided it was best not to continue after that! The finals went to a draw, with both Mr Slater & Mr Gautam tired in the extreme. Both gave sparkling performances, enthralling the crowd with jumping kicks & good hand combinations, with victory finally going to Mr Gautam of Rayners Lane.

The pace was set as the juniors started off with the 8 to 11 year old junior grades, another division taken by more Ali brothers, this time Adem Ali (LTA) won the gold & his other brother Jordan took the silver. With Ayden Ali taking joint bronze along with fellow LTA student Peri Ibrahim, making this division a clean sweep for the London Taekwon-do Academy.

In the Girls division (12 to 14 year olds) all the competitors put on a fine show, with Nicola Brown (Berkhamstead UKTA) taking bronze, Taran Lally (KBSOMA) taking the silver & Isabel Blunden of Berkhamstead UKTA claiming the coveted gold.

The 12 to 14 year old junior boys division was large to say the least. Competitors gave their all in an effort to rank in the top four positions. Fine performance came from Rayners Lane Academy, who cleared up in this division. Hershal Shah (9th kup) did extremely well in his first tournament to claim joint 3rd along side Paaras Tank. The Nadiree brothers again appeared together, this time fighting off for gold or silver. An enthralling fight ensued, with a fine performance from Yousef, but it wasn't enough & brother Firooz claimed the gold.

Another large division was the Adult Male -75kg (Junior grade). This was a very hard division with the some tough
matches all the way up to gold. David Lane (RLTKD), Bernard Rebelo (RLTKD), Ashtag Shah (Luton UKTA) &
Wiwat Simanurak (RLTKD) all gave some stiff competition to the eventual medal winners, but brothers Calvin &
Andrew Thomas (both from the London Panthers) fought excellently to claim both gold (by Calvin) & joint bronze
(Andrew) along with Justin Goh of Rayners Lane. Bako Kadir (RLTKD) gave his all & fought well after many previous rounds, in the final, but it wasn't enough to beat Calvin, so he settled for a well-earned silver.

The Adult female (junior grade) division also showed some great bouts. Claiming joint bronze was Clare Lowe from KBSOMA & Jessica McLeod from Rayners lane TKD. Sonal Lakhman of Rayners Lane fought fellow club mate Khadra Yusuf in the final, with fine performances from both, with Khadra pipping her at the post to win gold.

The next division to fight was the highly populated Men's Junior Grade +75kg. Some rip-roaring fights
took place. Outstanding bouts came from the likes of Terry Massiah (Luton UKTA), Darran Papa (bronze
-St Albans UKTA), Ben Stevens (bronze-RLTKD), with an electrifying final between fellow club mates
Albert Huynh & Peng Zhang, both from Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy, whom both gave their all,
despite being exhausted from previous rounds, ending up with Albert in silver position & Peng with gold.

In the boys blue & red belts, Dev Patel stormed to victory, but hot on his heels were Kanai Brand
(silver-RLTKD), Akikur Rahman (bronze-London Panthers) & Sushil Punj (bronze-RLTKD), but Dev wasn't
going to be denied, and wasn't!

The poorly populated ladies Blue/Red belt division (where are you all!) saw Rayners Lane student
Lyndsey Reynolds face off against gutsy Taman Lally from Kam Bains School of Martial Arts, in a
straight, 2 round final. It was an entertaining fight with Lyndsey showing off some good attacking skills &
Taman defending with some high kicking techniques. The eventual result went to Lyndsey.

The Men's Blue/Red belt -75kg division kicked off with Anil Nayer (London Panthers) fighting well against Parvez Sultan and saw Minto Bose (Luton UKTA) unlucky to go out in the semi-finals, in extra time, to Parvez Sultan after a great bout. On the other side, Tung Tse (London Panthers) went out Ross Campbell (KBSOMA). Parvez & Ross faced in a great final, with Ross taking silver & Parvez taking the gold.

The final division of the day again saw some heartfelt performances in the Adult Men's +75kg blue/red belt division. Some great bouts between Dale Campbell (KBSOMA), Michael Roche (London Panthers) & Pedro Frexio (KBSOMA) kept the audience entertained right to the end. The final result saw Dale claiming gold, Michael silver & Pedro bronze.

After a short break the official trophies were presented to all competitors & photographs taken. This followed with the raffle, with some great prizes supplied by tournament sponsor Blue Eagle Martial Arts (www.blueeagleuk.com), and the Best Competitor Awards were presented. These awards, one for juniors & one for senior (age-wise) coloured belt competitors, are voted on by all the judges & referees. A few names came up, but with the most votes, the junior award went to Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy student Firooz Nadiree & the senior award went to fellow Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy student Justin Goh, whom impressed the referees by getting off two 540 degree jumping turning kicks in a single sparring bout earlier on! It should be noted that no referees from Rayners Lane Academy voted on these awards (as no judge/referee is allowed to vote for his own students).

With Firooz Nadiree`s Best Competitor award, this tipped his points up enough to claim the Overall Prize Vouchers of 100 from the sponsors Blue Eagle Martial Arts!

Ending what was, by all accounts "a fabulous event!"

Rayners Lane instructor Stuart Anslow would like to thanks all the competitors who competed at this trend setting event, they all showed excellent control & great temperament throughout the whole day, with no `competitor strops` & no `arguing parents` at the ring side!

A big thank you to all the black belts that scored & refereed on the day: Mr Patrick McCarthy V (London Panthers), Mr Gordon Slater IV (Essex GTI), Mr Chris Snow IV (St Albans UKTA), Mr Adam Porter IV (Precision Taekwon-do), Mr Tom Brennan II (Berkhamstead UKTA), Mr Mustafa Dervis II (London Taekwon-do Academy), Mr Kam Bains II (Kam Bains School of Martial Arts), Mr Vikram Gautam I (Rayners Lane Academy), Mr Stuart Smith I (Luton UKTA) & Mr Ahmed Farhad (Rayners Lane Academy).

Plus all the students that helped out on the day and all those in the canteen supplying hot food & drink to everyone. Thank you to Oliver Martin & the St Johns Ambulance who only had two minor injuries to deal with throughout the day, how's that for good control!

And of course a big thank you to the sponsor, Blue Eagle Martial Arts, whom without, we'd all have to go home with much smaller trophies L

As one spectator put it, Taekwon-do Explosion 2003 was "A spectacular day!" If you weren't there, you missed out big time!

More pictures of this event & details of next year's event can be found at
www.raynerslanetkd.com and quality martial arts uniforms & equipment can be found at www.blueeagleuk.com