The town of Swift Current saw fans and competitors flock in over the weekend for the exciting sport of taekwondo. 

The first-ever annual open Battle in the Snake Pit tournament, hosted by Velocity Taekwondo, created quite the buzz on Saturday, filling the Swift Current Comprehensive High School (SCCHS) with about 150 competitors and countless spectators. The combat sport of taekwondo combines karate, traditional Chinese martial arts, and indigenous Korean fighting styles of taekkyon, subak, and gwonbeop. The result is a fast-paced, kick-focused fight in which the main target is the opponent’s torso; head strikes are reserved for those with blackbelts. 

Jesse Hir, owner and instructor at Velocity Taekwondo, was behind the scenes, ensuring the event ran smoothly. With a team of over 25 volunteers, Hir was able to keep the mass of competitors on track to enjoy their fights and reach for greatness. 

“It's been overwhelming,” expressed Hir. “People are loving the venue, the Comp high school here is gorgeous and the layout for us just works out fantastic, we had lots of compliments on that of course. The medals, the backdrop, and the T-shirts from Fitofan have been getting a lot of positive feedback, people want to buy them, but we just ordered the shirts for volunteers.” 

A particularly unique spectacle was the team sparring. This pitted two teams of five against each other, with a tag-out system, keeping two opponents moving at almost all times. 

team sparring

“It's for the black belts in different age categories to go out and just show off their skills, their jumping techniques,” Hir explained. “If they touch their opponent, they will score. The idea is strictly to put on a show to get the crowd into the mood. They put in a lot of time to be a black belt and a lot of dedication. It's just a way for them to display their skills and for everybody to cheer them on.” 

The final results showed that Velocity Taekwondo, the local host club, won the tournament by a landslide, earning 37 more medals than the next best club. Five of the competitors in combat were able to earn two gold medals: 

Levi Colenutt 

Nixan Moore 

Zildjian Aguilar 

Gabriel Aguilar 

Jamira Angel Mamauag 

The final medal totals of the tournament can be found here

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