by Stephen Dafoe
Phoenix Taekwon-do Morinville instructors Tim Abel and David Wandler are off to Rimini, Italy to represent Team Canada at a Taekwon-do World Championship event in June. The two second-degree black belts are part of a team from Phoenix, including Morinville employee Chris Fish, making the trip.
“We were invited to the Open World Championships in Rimini, Italy. “There are about 10 of us from Phoenix Taekwon-do that have been given the opportunity to represent Team Canada,” Abel said. “It’s going to be a tournament with about 20 countries, including England, The United States, Italy, Canada, and Russia. It’s going to be a very entertaining and excellent opportunity for us.”
Abel said Team Canada is partially funded for the European trip but are int he process of raising some funds to send the local athletes overseas. Abel and Wandler have a goal to raise $1000 at their dojang and in the community by mid-April.
If the instructors hit their target, Abel has agreed to shave his hair off, and Wandler, known for his long hair, has agreed to dye his hair fire engine red in honour of Team Canada.
They will be selling t-shirts during their Morinville classes for $20 each. The shirts will have details about the tournament, and the profit, which is roughly $10 per shirt, will help fund the trip. The shirts will be available at their Morinville classes Mondays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. or at any Phoenix Taekwon-do dojang in the Edmonton area.
“We’re hoping that the community will pitch in,” Abel said. “If they want to swing by our classes; we’ll be here to accept any donation they can offer,” Abel said.
[SUBHEAD]Successful start to program
Having the opportunity to compete on the international stage is an exciting opportunity for Abel and Wandler. They are also excited to see the growth in Taekwon-Do in Morinville since starting last fall.
“Our club has been gradually growing every class,” Abel said, adding there are approximately 25 students in the Shadow Warriors group (under 7) and the all-ages group (7 and above). “All levels. All ages. All belt levels are in that class. We’re starting to show some very excellent Taekwon-do within our students.”
The Feb. 9 class saw a number of Shadow Warriors tested and moved up a level in their martial arts studies.
Abel attributes the success to the dedication of the students and the ongoing training he and co-instructor David Wandler receive. “We train under Master Craig Stanley, so the level of Taekwon-do that we learn is exceptional,” Abel said. “We’re lucky to have mentors like that, and we’re proud that we can share it with the kids here in Morinville.”
The path from student to instructor is one co-instructor David Wandler has walked. Wandler started in Taekwon-do as a Shadow Warrior approximately 15 years ago. It has been an active part of his life that he believes has formed who he is. “Our main philosophy is families that kick together, stick together,” Wandler said of the Phoenix philosophy, noting families are encouraged to train together. “I started when I was five years old. I’ve been doing it my entire life. I’ve noticed it’s a big improvement for everything. Taekwon-do has applied to almost everything in my life.”
For more information on Phoenix Taekwon-do visit www.phoenixtaekwon-do.ca.