Four local martial arts students from Skelton's Taekwondo Academy in Brazil competed in the Evansville regional championships. Competing were Samantha Starr, brown Belt: Zachery Szekely, First Degree Black Belt recommended; Corinne Scully, Second Degree Black Belt: and Tom McKinney Jr., Fourth Degree Black Belt. Also in attendance was Mr. Ron Newbury, Fourth Degree Black Belt; and Dr. Dennis Skelton, Fifth Degree Black belt, Chief Instructor at Skelton Taekwondo Academy. Newbury and Skelton are International judges.
Zachery was heard saying, "The competition was very tough but I seemed to be on my game." Zachery finished first in form, second in weapons, and third in sparring. Ms. Scully finished first in forms, first in weapons, and second in sparring. When asked Ms. Scully said, "This was my first tournament as a second degree and I was very nervous. I only learned my form a week before and was very surprised and happy to have placed first". She went on to say, "The women I competed with are very good which made my victory more surprising".
Samantha Starr was the "star" of Skelton Taekwondo Academy placing first in all three events and she attributed this to her instructors. "They are really good at getting me ready for competitions," Starr said. Mr. McKinney was also pleased with his performance this past weekend. Tom said. "This was the first tournament I have competed in in a long time and was only expecting to have fun, placing in any event was very surprising". Mr. McKinney placed 1st in weapons, 2nd in spar-ring, and 3rd in forms.
Dr. Skelton reported that the tournament featured over 500 competitors from all over the country. He said students came from as far away as Tucson, Ariz..
"They never surprise me," Skelton said in reference to his students' success. "We have a very high success rate and always bring home a lot of trophies."
Skelton went on to say that their success rate is somewhere around 95%, which he credits to his instructional staff.
Starr also competed in the National Championships in Las Vegas, Nev.
"Samantha was very successful," Skelton said. "She placed first in sparring competition and third in forms, and her instructors are very proud of her."
Although Samantha is only a brown belt she competed with recommended black belts. "I was really worried when I saw all the black belts in my ring, but once I started to compete I felt confident," Starr said
The next tournament for Skelton's students will be April 22nd in Terre Haute where more than 1,000 competitors are expected. Dr. Skelton wants to invite all of Brazil to come and watch some great martial arts activities.