karate-tourney-2013-female-(Photo Paul McRee/SurfKY News File Photo 2013 TTCA competition at CCCC.)
CENTRAL CITY, Ky. (3/19/14) — Last year in March, hundreds of Tae Kwon Do enthusiasts, along with their friends and families, made their way to Central City for a huge two-day event that attracted karate students and instructors from Kentucky, Indiana and other surrounding states.

The competition, sanctioned by the Traditional Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Association packed the Central City Convention Center, along with many area motels, hotels and restaurants.

This Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22, Tae Kwon Do testing and competition returns to Muhlenberg County for a second straight year.

SurfKY News spoke with Grandmaster Young Sik Choi, a ninth-degree black belt. Choi is the founder and president of the Traditional TKO Chung Do Association headquartered in Louisville. He learned traditional TKO while growing up in South Korea, and served as a body guard to the president of South Korea before immigrating to the U.S.

"We are excited to return to Central City for the second straight year of regional competition," Choi said. "The facilities at CCCC, along with the hard work of Master Jim Johnson in organizing this event helped to make last year's competition a huge success. This year we'll have competitors from throughout Kentucky, Indiana, and from as far away as Nebraska. This is the 62nd Annual TTCA Regional Tournament."

Choi noted that there is a distinct difference between his type of traditional Tae Kwon Do and other types of karate.

Tae Kwon Do combines combat and self-defense techniques with sport and exercise.

"We have several important rules based on more than a thousand years of philosophy," Choi said. "Be loyal to your country, obedient to your parents, be honest with your friends, never retreat from battle, and make a sensible choice. Another big difference is that other types of karate are based more on the use of hands, but our method concentrates on 80 percent use of feet and 20 percent use of hand techniques."

Choi stressed that TTCA provides training for students as young as 4 years old, and many students are still going strong into their 60s and 70s. He said it's especially helpful for children and young adults that may be having discipline or other problems at school or at home.

"Once you get children involved in traditional Tae Kwon Do, they can get much of their stress out of their system," Choi said. "You know our young people have a lot of stress in their lives just like adults. But once they get involved with TTCA and stay with it a few months, it will change their whole attitude. If children are yelling and screaming at home, why not let them get involved in Tae Kwon Do and they can get it all out of their system here instead of at home."

Choi emphasized that he cannot thank Master Jim Johnson enough for his hard work. Johnson is the owner of the Muhlenberg County Tae Kwon Do Studio in Central City.

"I have trained Master Johnson for over 30 years," Choi said. "He is very dedicated to both the physical and philosophical aspects of traditional Tae Kwon Do. And the convention center facilities are perfect for our competition. We loved being in Central City last year, and I know it will be just as wonderful this year."

Choi said the Friday evening session will feature testing for various belts, with activities beginning at 6 p.m. Final competition will be held on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. All events are open to the public. Tickets are $6 at the door for adults, and $3 for children ages 6 to 11. Children age 5 and under get in free.

To find out more about Tae Kwon Do, log on to http://www.traditionaltkd.com. For more information about this weekend's activities contact the Central City Convention Center at (270) 757-1723.

Paul McRee
SurfKY News Reporter

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