Chris Jackson, Ben Semken and Shaun Thompson from Emerald Taekwondo.
Chris Jackson, Ben Semken and Shaun Thompson from Emerald Taekwondo.

Taekwondo team up with the best

YOU wouldn’t want to mess with this Emerald Taekwondo team.

Ben Semken and his four-strong Taekwondo contingent happily assumed the underdog status at the Queensland State Championships in Brisbane last month, before defying the critics to place third in the team category.

The Emerald crew faced an uphill battle from the outset with teams travelling from around the state to compete.

From as far north as Townsville and even competitors flying in from Sydney, the Emerald outfit faced twice as many team numbers as their own.

But the young team handled the pressure with ease.

Nineteen-year-old instructor Semken also cleaned up in the individual award stakes, named not only the Hwa Rang Do discipline’s Instructor of the Year but also the Best of the Best among the senior males at the tournament.

Semken’s rapid rise to the instructor title was remarkable in itself.

Usually only given to students with at least five years experience, the Emerald expert notched up his ranking within just a year and a half of training.

“I started up in the sport when I was in Cairns, then moved down here and met others through school and work who were also interested in it,” Semken said.

Emerald Taekwondo students Shaun Thompson, Daniel Hunt and Chris Jackson, formed the remainder of the bronze medal-winning team, and found little trouble gelling as a cohesive unit, Semken said, having trained together since the beginning.

After powering their way through a number of events at the Brisbane championships including free-sparing, one-step sparing, board-breaking and patterns, the Emerald team is now anxiously awaiting the verdict on national selection.

“We’re hoping to hear from them soon,” Semken said.

The Tiger Team - as it’s called - will include a selection of the top 20 fighters from the State Championships, with the Emerald team’s third placing putting members in good stead for a crack at the positions.

The Hwa Rang Do discipline, preached by the Australian Hwa Rang Tae Kwon Do Academy website, taught students self-confidence, not only in physical aspects but also in their mental discipline.

“The practice of taekwondo gives individuals the mental attitude of modesty,” the website said.

“The qualities of modesty and generosity are fundamentally based on self-confidence.”

To learn more about Hwa Rang Do Taekwondo, join Ben and his representative Taekwondo team at the Emerald PCYC Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5pm.

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