One Red Deer martial artist is preparing to take on the world at the end of this month.
Mark Bush, who trains at Master Rim’s Taekwondo on Gasoline Alley, is gearing up to represent Canada at the WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Lima, Peru from Sept. 27th to Oct. 1st.
“It seems to be coming together and I’m getting more excited with each day that goes by,” said Bush, 16, who will be competing in Freestyle Poomsae at the championships.
Bush qualified for the championships after placing first at nationals in May.
“Right after Nationals in May, I went and I placed first. Back then I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t have a solid feeling for just the routine and everything. I didn’t think I could perform my best,” he said, adding that he’s now beginning to feel more comfortable with his Poomsae routine.
Poomsae is the term used to refer to a pattern of forms that are set by the World Taekwondo Federation and performed at competitions and in demonstrations.
“Traditional forms is a blocking and kicking and kicking combination, you’ve probably seen it in the movies. Freestyle is the incorporation of acrobatics and trickings and the traditional forms choreographed to music,” explained Master Seoungmin Rim, who is the National Poomsae head coach for Taekwondo Canada.
Bush, who began training in Taekwondo six years ago, began to focus on the freestyle forms in late December of last year.
“In 2014, I saw a man named Charlie Chung. He trained under Master Rim and he was from Ontario. My friends showed me a video of him doing his routine and it was jaw-dropping. He kind of inspired me to strive to be just like him,” Bush said of why he decided to start focusing on Poomsae rather than sparring.
For Rim, as the national coach, it is an exciting prospect to be able to bring one of his own students to an international competition like the world championships.
“Of course, I have to distribute my attention equally to all of the athletes, but it’s exciting to Mark since he was a little kid studying here in Red Deer locally. Now he’s been to nationals and the International Canada Open and stuff. Now he finally gets to participate in the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championship and I think he has a good chance to shine there,” he said, adding that Bush has grown a lot as a practitioner of taekwondo over the years.
“He started as a fresh new student white belt and came all the way to black belts and teaching little children. Not only that, but his skill level has gotten so much better.”
And with their departure date looming close on the horizon, Bush’s focus now turns to the event itself.
He said his main goal for the week will be to stay focused on the task more than the result.
“Usually I’m good now in front of people. I’m used to being in front of people. But I noticed at nationals and Canada Open, I’ve kind of developed stage fright and my goal for this tournament is overcoming that and maximizing my potential there,” he said.
Bush added he wanted to thank a number of local business owners who are members at Master Rim’s who stepped up to financially make his goal of attending worlds a reality.
“I love Canada and I would give anything for it, but having to represent Red Deer is amazing for me.”