U.S. Open beckons

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By Mickey Patterson

CRESTWOOD – The Kentucky Tae Kwon Do and Fitness Academy will be well represented at the U.S. Open Tae Kwon Do meet Monday in Las Vegas.

Four members of the academy’s competitive team and Master/Coach Sean Ramey will attend the open.

“It’s going to be a huge deal for us and everyone involved this year,” Ramey said. “They have updated the way it is run and it is right up there now with the national meet or the Pan-Am Games.” 

The academy’s Aaron Dickerson, Alec Valentine, Alex Naslund and Michael Holdway will all compete.

Dickerson, 23, a senior instructor at the school, is an old hand at these events, placing in the top 10 in the middleweight division at several different national tournaments.

Valentine, Naslund and Holdway will all be competing in the 14-17 year-old black belt division in different weight classes. Naslund is a junior instructor at the academy and a veteran of junior tournaments.

Ramey said the tournament is attracting the best from around the world with 13 competitors from this summer’s Olympics from Beijing and 17 national teams competing.

The tournament will also introduce the use of electronic chest protectors for the first time in America. The protectors must be hit at a certain force record a score.

“This is the first time they have been used over here,” Ramey said. “It takes away a lot of the politics by the judges. The people sparring have to hit it so hard to record a score according to their weight class.”

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