by Hillary Twiford, staff writer
Two Saegertown High School sophomores recently participated in the Champion of the Sword taekwondo tournament at Northwestern High School on May 20. Mykenzie Connally and Renee Allen competed in multiple categories to earn four swords each.
There were four divisions: sparring, self-defense, kadas, and weapon kadas. Connally earned first place in sparring and third in the other three divisions, and Allen earned third in sparring and second in both self-defense, kadas, and weapon kadas.
“I had to go first for the very first event, which was self defense,” Connally said. “I was too nervous. I was shaking the whole time, so I think it ruined my form.”
For Allen, the most nerve-racking part was the judges. “I don’t like talking to people I don’t know, so I didn’t like talking to the judges.” However, she still enjoyed the tournament. “I had a lot of fun, and I didn’t hurt myself!”
Connally’s favorite part of the tournament was receiving her swords at the end, but she did share enthusiasm for Allen’s favorite portion. “We weren’t a part of this thing called music kadas, but I enjoyed watching it because they were so into their routines and so energetic,” Allen said.
After competing in the tournament, both contestants strive for enhancement in martial arts. “I would improve my stance. One of the judges told me I was leaning forward, so I would fix that,” Connally said. Allen looks for overall improvement. “I want to practice more because now I know what the judges are looking for,” Allen said. Connally and Allen look forward to participating in more tournaments in the future.