Post written by Ms. Vernon, AES Taekwondo Instructor (and 5th grade teacher):
I wanted to update you on the incredible success “Team India” had at the European Taekwondo Camp and Championships in Cascais, Portugal this past weekend. Thirteen of us traveled to represent AES Taekwondo – two black belt leaders – my daughter, Natalie Rios, and myself; and eleven Taekwondo students, ranging in age from 7 to 43 and in belt rank from orange to brown, including two parents and one other AES staff person.
The camp was demanding and strenuous. We trained from 9 to 5 for two days before the actual competition. Feedback from other instructors was always complimentary. Our students handled themselves incredibly well, displaying courtesy, enthusiasm, bravery, and sportsmanship. We definitely have a growth mindset in operation!
For me, the highlight was the demo team competition. There were six teams entered, all comprised of mostly black belts. Their presentations included flips, high level kicks, fast moving weapons, and excellent synchronization. Our routine did not have the technical expertise nor difficulty. What we did have was heart. During our routine, several of the judges had tears in their eyes, they were so moved by the emotion of our performance. The audience loved it. Against the odds, we placed third in the competition and were invited to compete in the finals. We ended up in third place, though one of the four judges voted for us to be in second place, ahead of the polished Portuguese team that recently advanced several levels on Portugal’s Got Talent. We are performing our polished demo for Friday Night Lights April 8 for the AES Community and for the upcoming MESAC opening ceremonies.
Arjun Pandey – First in weapons, second in sparring, third in team demo
Aryaa Pandey – Second in weapons and third in sparring
Amitabh Pandey – First in weapons
Rayna Singh – First in weapons and third in team demo
Alena Singh – First in weapons, third in form, third in sparring, and third in team demo
Mun Mun Singh – First in weapons and third in team demo
Ava Griffiths – First in weapons and third in team demo
Liam Batemyr – First in weapons, second in form, and third in team demo
Esther Rubin – Songahm Spirit and third in team demo
Ananya Balakrishnan – third in weapons and third in team demo
Hardayal Kumar – Third in form, second in weapons, and first in sparring
Natalie Rios – Third in weapons, third in sparring, third in team demo, third in international team sparring
Susan Vernon – Third in team demo and second in international team sparring
Enjoy the photos from this amazing trip: