Chief Instructor of Performance Martial Arts Academy, Master, Mitchell Church proudly announces that four of his students have brought home eight gold medals from the World Championships recently held in Little Rock, Ark.
Sixth Degree Black Belt, Master Mark Webb won a Gold Medal in the Creative Weapons competition in which he competed with a bow-staff. He also won three Silver Medals out of the five events he qualified for in the Top Ten. He placed second in the Creative Forms, Extreme Forms and Extreme Weapons events. This is Webb’s 17th World Champion title victory. He competes in the Sixth and Seventh Degree Black Belt division.
Jennifer Powell won a gold medal in sparring. This is Ms. Powell’s first time winning this event in the World Championships.
“This victory surprised me because the other women are excellent when it comes sparring and I have never really considered it a strong point for me,” Powell said. “It just goes to show that things that may not seem possible today may be possible tomorrow. ... Winning the World title in sparring made me a believer that anything is possible.”
Powell competed in seven of the eight events in the Top 10. She also won bronze medals in Creative Forms, Creative Weapons and Extreme Forms. Powell competes in the Fourth and Fifth Degree Black Belt division and this is her sixteenth World Champion title.
Second Degree Black Belt, Chris Burke won three World Champion titles and so did his son, First Degree Black Belt, Wyatt Burke. They each won Gold medals in Traditional Forms, Sparring and Combat Weapons events.
“I am particularly proud of the Burkes because they have trained hard and are relatively new to the competition circuit,” Master Church said. “It is rare to hear of a person achieving the title of world champion in such a short period of time and yet they did it. And they did it as a father and son. It makes this even more special.”
“It was Master Church’s high standard of teaching that made it possible for my son and I to achieve such a remarkable task.” Chris Burke said. “We left the World Championships even more inspired to train even harder and to return again next year. Wyatt Burke has a tremendous sense of sportsmanship and shows a genuine interest in making friends with his fellow competitors. Mr. Burke qualified for the Top 10 competition at the World Championships last year but was unable to attend.”
Webb added, “Making it into the Top 10 is a very big deal in the martial arts as it represents a year’s worth of competition around the world in order to qualify. The event is hosted by the American Taekwondo Association. Delegations from North America, South Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia send their best to compete in this event. Over 24,000 martial artists have competed over this past year for the opportunity to vie for the title of world champion.”
“This was the 50th Anniversary of the American Taekwondo Association and it was the most attended one ever,” Master Church said. "To have the opportunity to compete in the Top 10 of the World Championships is very exciting. This is a week-long event with all kinds of training and competition with the best martial artists in the world.”
Master Church had one other student qualify for Top 10 in the World Championship competitions but was unable to attend. Mason Woods who is a Second Degree Black Belt qualified for two events. These were the Sparring and Combat Weapons competition. Mason Woods is a multi-time Southeastern district and Georgia state champion.