WHILE the fighters of the Tae Kwon Do Edinburgh Club have underlined their ability within their own style, their range of skill and diversity has now seen them take kickboxing by storm with the emergence of four national champions.
Following on from the club’s dominance in a recent Tae Kwon Do challenge event against a Rest of Scotland select, the club were well represented at the Scottish Kickboxing Championships in Wishaw with the awarding of gold accolades. With kickboxing events permitting the merge of a range of styles from karate, kung-fu and Tae Kwon Do, the national championships present an opportunity to unite some of the best involved in the skill of martial arts.
Kerry Laird, 19, a chemistry and forensic science student at Heriot-Watt University, has a wealth of experience in competitions of this magnitude. After excelling in the Ladies Under 55kg, she has not only enhanced her credibility as an all-round performer, but has now qualified to represent Scotland in the World Kickboxing Championships later this year. She said: “I was fairly confident going into the event but I was up against opponents who were a lot bigger than me as I was fighting in a category where I was one of the lightest, so I’m delighted. We each had about three or four fights before the finals so it can be tough.
“I have always loved martial arts and took Tae Kwon Do up when I was just five but I like kickboxing as well. I’ve managed to progress pretty well and have already competed in the World Championships in Tae Kwon Do three times and have won a silver medal once. I’ve also won British Championships in both junior and senior categories.”
With Laird the youngest-ever captain to lead the national ladies squad in international Tae Kwon Do competition, an honour she relishes, a desire to exceed her World Championship silver medal placing and finish top of the podium represents that of a hugely ambitious individual. “I’d love to win the World Championships one day. I have already achieved a silver medal but I’d love to go that one better. I hope to do some instructing myself but with university and all the competitions I’m involved in, I don’t have time at the moment but that’s certainly one for the future.”
Not to be outshone, 14-year-old Scott Hughes also claimed the national championship in the Under 70kg Under 18 Boys category but admitted his opponents are not always the sole battle he faces during competition. He said: “I was really happy to win the event in my category but I always find nerves can get the better of me, especially in the first fight, so it can take me a while to get going. But after that my confidence takes over and I can concentrate a lot better. I’m still young so I want to keep developing and hope to win further competitions. We’ve got quite a lot to look forward to this year with some big events coming up so I need to keep training hard.”
Hughes was also complimentary to his instructor James Watson and highlights his dedication to his students as one of his main attributes.
He added: “He’s so active and enthusiastic. Even when we aren’t training, he’ll still see if you want to go a run or something like that and try and fit in an extra session. So in that sense he just wants what’s best for us which is brilliant.” There was further success in Lanarkshire when Lewis Harrison and Finlay Pattman, both seven, provided more prestige to the Capital club after achieving first place in the Little Ninjas Under-8s category. The two youngsters were extremely proud of their awards where both expressed a desire to add a few more trophies as they progress with their development. Instructor James Watson runs Tae Kwon Do classes at Meggetland Sports Complex on both Monday and Wednesday evenings for kids and adults. Contact 07725639997 for booking details.