Menlo Park, CA, October 13, 2016 --(PR.com
)-- On October 7th and 8th, martial arts students and instructors came together in Katy, TX for the World Kuk Sool Association's World Championship Tournament. More than 750 competitors representing more than a dozen countries competed over two days. At the end of it all, 17-year-old Annika Peterson from Menlo Park, 14-year-old Katie Santistevan from Woodland, CA, and 51-year-old David Kutz from Woodland, CA returned home as World Champions.
Ms. Peterson, Ms. Santistevan, and Mr. Kutz are all first degree black belts in the Korean Traditional Martial Art of Kuk Sool Won, a rank that takes at least five years to earn. First degree black belts compete in Open Hand Forms, Sword Form, Staff Form, Throwing Techniques, Sparring, and Breaking (18+ only). Medals are awarded in each event for the top four (4) places, and the competitor who earns the most gold medals in their division earns the title of Grand Champion. Ms. Santistevan took Gold in Staff, Sword, Sparring, and Techniques, as well as Silver in Forms to win the 13-14 Year-old Girls Division. Ms. Peterson won Gold in Forms and Sword, Silver in Techniques, and 4th place in Staff to win the 15-17 Year-old Girls Division. Mr. Kutz won Gold in Sword, Staff, and Breaking, as well as Silver in Forms and Techniques and Bronze in Sparring to win the Senior Division Grand Champion Division.
Being World Champion is not completely new to these three. They have each earned the title before, both at the Pacific Regional Tournament and at previous World Championships. In fact, this is the fifth consecutive time Ms. Santistevan has won Grand Champion, and the fourth consecutive time that Ms. Peterson has. Mr. Kutz won Grand Champion at the Pacific Regional tournament before winning this year at the World Championships.
Ms. Santistevan and Mr. Kutz train under 5th degree Master Justin Bunn and Tiffany Bunn at Kuk Sool Won of Woodland. Master Bunn has been training in the martial arts since 1981and has himself been Grand Champion eight times, including 3 World Championships. Mrs. Bunn is a Third Degree Black Belt who started training in 1997. In addition to have one Grand Champion title, she also holds a degree in Early Childhood Education. The training center in Woodland has produced 17 Grand Champions in the last 3 years and was the #1 Top Points school at the Pacific Regional Tournament from 2009 to 2015.
Ms. Peterson trains under 5th degree Master Kristin Quintana at Kuk Sool Won of Menlo Park. Master Quintana has been training since 1993 and holds one World Champion title and one Regional Title. The Menlo Park center has produced 13 Grand Champions and has been in the Top 4 overall points schools for the last six years.
In spite of these outstanding records, neither Master Bunn nor Master Quintana considers competition the main focus of their program. "Competition is fun, and many of our students find it very motivating," explains Master Quintana, "but martial arts training is about building character and developing self-discipline more than anything else." Adds Master Bunn, "The main focus of our training is on the principles of traditional martial arts: discipline, focus, and a healthy lifestyle. Basically – all the things that make people successful in life.”
And this attitude is reflected in their Champions as well. “It felt amazing to receive this title. I knew I worked hard and dedicated my time to it. Having people that love and support you always makes us feel on top,” said Ms. Santistevan.
Mr. Kutz said, “I’m proud that I competed the same way I trained. I felt true to myself and did what I do in training – work hard and have fun.”
“It’s really exciting to compete at this level,” said Ms. Peterson. “Everyone in my ring also teaches and loves Kuk Sool the way I do. When you see the other competitors, you realize how hard they work, and it encourages you to recognize your achievements and keep working hard because no matter how good you get, you can always improve.”
Overall, the Woodland training center sent 14 competitors who earned a total of 35 medals. The Menlo Park training center sent 20 students who earned a total of 45 medals. The teams and instructors from both facilities have a lot to be proud of.
For a Lively and Information Packed Interview, Please Contact
Kristin Quintana (650) 787-2226