Martial Artist Earns Silver in National Championship
Left to right: Scott Krueger, Stephen Decker, Stephon Freeman. (Contributed photo)
For the City-Times
USA-Taekwondo held the 2014 National Championships, the largest Taekwondo tournament in the U.S., from June 30- July 7.
Held in San Jose, California, the event was attended by over 4,000 martial artists from around the country and by tens of thousands of spectators. The championship is a springboard for athletes desiring elite competition, and a chance at making the U.S. National Team. Just qualifying for the National Championships is a noteworthy bullet on any martial artists’ resume, but making the trip and competing against the best in the country deserves special recognition.
This year two martial artists from Wisconsin made that trip; Scott Krueger from Milwaukee, and Stevens Point’s own Stephon Freeman. These two red belts fought some outstanding matches and each came within 3 points of gold medal glory. The Wisconsin athletes were accompanied by Wisconsin coach and owner of Five Rings Martial Arts Stephen Decker.
Freeman, who trains at Five Rings Martial Arts in Stevens Point, spent 6 months preparing for this opportunity. He participated in several tournaments which honed his skills in the ring.
As the match progressed Freeman kept the score close against a much taller fighter. He defended an onslaught of attacks and countered with his own, putting his opponent on the defensive more often than not. At the close of round three, an uncalled and un-reviewable head kick that could have tied the match went unnoticed and Freeman was the National Silver Medalist. He had done exactly what he had come to do; he competed and proved to himself and everyone watching that he deserved to be there.
He was gracious in his defeat and thanked his opponent for an outstanding match, shaking hands with the competitors coach as well.
Five Rings Martial Arts would like to thank Allen Musch with Inner Element Massage in Stevens Point as a sponsor of these athletes.
Five Rings is affiliated with USA-Taekwondo, the National Governing Body of Taekwondo. Mr. Decker has earned certifications as both a referee as well as coach and is proud to be able to offer the highest level of competition to his students. Although tournament sparring is not a primary focus, it can be fulfilling at any age.
For more information, contact Decker at 715-347-5994, by email as [email protected], or online at http://fiveringsma.weebly.com