DEDICATION - From left

Local taekwondo athlete makes the podium

A Red Deer taekwondo student and his teacher are celebrating a week of success after they returned from the WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Peru last week.

Mark Bush of Red Deer earned a bronze medal at the annual international competition, which features the best practitioners of poomsae from all over the world.

“Mark got a bronze medal. Team Canada had 37 athletes and we came back with two bronze medals and Mark was one of them,” said Master Seoungmin Rim, the National Poomsae head coach for Taekwondo Canada and the owner of Master Rim’s Taekwondo in Red Deer.

Poomsae is the common name of the traditional taekwondo forms that are used to teach taekwondo. Practitioners of poomsae are scored on how accurately they can perform the moves of their particular form, and on their presentation.

Rim said that overall, he thought the Canadian athletes were among the best at the competition, but not necessarily in podium performance.

“Canadian athletes, we had the best unity, the best cheering, not necessarily the best podium performance, but we had the best team atmosphere,” said Rim.

The preliminaries were very close, Rim said, but Bush’s performance was enough to qualify him for a spot in the finals, in part due to his consistency when it came to his routines.

“What he did was he was very consistent. He had stage fright and was very nervous, but he was very confident. We developed a routine prior to the tournament. He stuck to the routine and he didn’t make any mistakes. He overcame the doubt and fear that he had and he did an amazing job.”

Bush competes in freestyle poomsae, which is a relatively new variant of the martial art that incorporates more of an individual aspect as competitors perform a set of moves which they have choreographed themselves. The freestyle side of the practice also includes more tricks and kicks than the traditional forms.

“He started when he was nine-years-old with me and he came, he worked hard and now he made it to the podium at the Poomsae World Championships and it was very rewarding,” Rim said.

“He’s a great example because when he was little, he was very chubby and he told his mom that ‘Mom the reason I cannot kick high is because I’m chubby. So what I’m going to do is cut down on the junk food and the pop.’ And he got rid of everything. He lost his weight and he trained hard and now he is where is where he is.”

Rim added that Bush’s U17 Individual Freestyle Poomsae division wasn’t an easy one to do well in.

“It was a very, very tough individual, it was a very, very tough category, but he made it,” Rim said. “He was very determined and had good self control and worked hard and he was able to make it to the podium in about seven years of training.”

The World Taekwondo Federation’s World Poomsae Championships are an annual competition that included athletes from 55 different countries around the world and took place in Lima, Peru from Sept. 30th to Oct. 2nd this year.

zcormier@reddeerexpress.com