From May 10th to 14th the ITF Pan American Championship was held in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina. Without a doubt this was a fantastic experience.
We had the honor of participating as a guest country in a nation where there is a very high level and Taekwon-Do is all the rage, and where prestigious people of the ITF were present as the President GM Weiler, GM Marano, GM Condomi, Master Leo Oros Duek among others.
All this we owe to GM Merodio and Master Bordiez, since they were the promoters of the invitation.
Italy formed a delegation of 6 people: from TKD Sardegna (Farigu-Oriolani), traveled Lucia Bullita, Pierluigi Tatti, Nicola Zanda and Luigi Zanetti, while for ASD Hwarang Rising Dojang (led by M. Saccomanno), traveled Luca Pecchia. All members of FITAE ITF.
The results were very positive: Pierluigi Tatti was crowned champion in the category -63kg black belt (sub 21); Luigi Zanetti won a silver medal in sparring -87kg and bronze in tul 1 Dan (sub 21); Nicola Zanda won bronze in sparring seniors -63 kg; Luca Pecchia Bronze in sparring senior - 81 kg; Lucia Bullita Bronze in tul 1 Dan Veteran. Team Tul: Italy won the 2nd place in tul (Argentina won and Uruguay was third); Team Sparring (round robin): 1st place Argentina, 2nd place shared with Chile, Paraguay and Italy, 3rd place Uruguay.
A nice particularity of the tournament was that team sparring was carried out with the round robin system (all against all), and teams were allowed to participate with only 3 people. There were a lot of fights, and all the fighters could participate even more.
I participated as Coach and I had the luck to compete and inaugurate one of the two Master’s categories (40/49 years 7/8 Dan). It is the first time that ITF opens a Master category.
Honestly, it had been a long time since I had competed, so the nerves were always present until the moment to get on the tatami.
Seeing Masters compete was very nice, a very important recognition from the ITF to the "veterans of category" (not veterans of age :) ) who love competition and are always looking for new challenges. This is an inspiration and motivation for all of us.
Being this the first time, there was a lot of uncertainty, and surely for that reason, many Masters did not sign up.
I want to heartily congratulate Master Aldo Godoy (with whom I competed) and the competitors of the second category: Master Banega (champion + 50 years), Christian di Leo, Marcelo Corsico and Hector Mengoni.
Another wonderful thing was to see two people (Instructor and student) share the third place on the podium being 7 and 8 Dan.
Undoubtedly the experience and reception from all the competitors, instructors and spectators was wonderful. I believe there should be no limits to compete, to fight, to perform patterns, to do breakings ... the only limits there are, are those that we put ourselves.
I invite everyone to join and compete in the new Master’s category, without shame, without fear. They will be beautiful examples of perseverance and humility.
Thanks again to everyone, but especially to the Argentine national team for all the affection for the 6 of us.