TAE KWON DO Edinburgh are beginning the new year in style by hosting a prestigious Edinburgh v Poland International event at the beginning of next month.
The club, which operates a number of weekly sessions throughout the city and has more than 300 students to its name, is relishing its first international contest as they prepare to welcome some stern opposition from Central Europe to the Capital.
For two-times world champion and head instructor James Watson, the arrival of some of Poland’s most potent performers is a challenge he hopes will kick-start a series of international contests involving the martial art.
Watson said: “As an international fighter myself, I have generated a lot of friends and contacts throughout the world. We’ve been doing an Edinburgh v Liverpool event for about three years now but I just wanted to take it that bit further. This will be the biggest event we have staged with bringing competitors over from another nation, but we also have a lot of Polish friends and family that train with us already so we have that connection.
“Poland seemed the most obvious choice to go with but we’re hoping to make this an annual international event. We would like to bring the Netherlands over next year but we’ll see how this one goes first.”
With a capacity crowd of 500 expected at Portobello Town Hall on Saturday, February 2, preparation has been meticulous for an event that will pitch both a mix of beginners and international stars under the spotlight. A total of 20 fights have been organised over the course of the evening but it is the final four duels that perhaps carry most interest as both Scotland and Poland’s finest face off against one another.
“We started organising the night about three months ago so it has taken a bit of time to put things in place.” Watson said. “We have had to raise funds for the Polish team to travel over but we’re still looking for sponsors on the night as well. There will be about 20 fights on the evening with some awards as well so there will be some great entertainment on show. We still have tickets left but we expect it to sell out. The ages of some of the fighters from our club range from seven up to 25 so they’re all really looking forward to it.”
Watson is encouraged by the rise and increasing popularity of Tae Kwon Do across the nation but underlines a strong belief that more could be achieved to raise the profile outwith Edinburgh. However, his personal ambition and drive to promote Tae Kwon Do Edinburgh and increase member capacity is an attribute that can only continue to strengthen their position.
He said: “Tae Kwon Do is thriving but I must be honest and say that I think Edinburgh is in a league of its own in comparison with the rest of the country. It seems to be we’re the only ones that are really pushing it and I think it shows. For example, I am the team captain of the Scottish national team and my student Kerry Laird is the women’s captain and we both come from Edinburgh.
“We want to promote this as much as we can and hopefully attract new members to the club.
“This is a chance for people to see not only novices of Tae Kwon Do, but also internationalists and the opportunity that is there to progress in the sport.
“We’d love to one day bring the Tae Kwon Do World Championships to Edinburgh and this is a real chance to showcase what it’s all about but we need that support.”
Anyone interested in buying tickets for Tae Kwon Do Edinburgh’s Fight Night on Saturday February 2, should contact James Watson on 07725639997 or, alternatively, call 07753 836410 for more details.