Belted for Battle
RV's Pemble excels outside school, on Taekawondo mat
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Perhaps it’s a generalization, but the majority of the Ralston Valley student body has never been to a Taekwondo meet, and has no idea what it entails.
Ralston Valley’s own Ben Pemble, a third-degree black belt, is not part of this majority.
In fact, Pemble participates in this sport and does so at an exceedingly high level.
Pemble started Taekwondo at the age of five and won first place in sparring and second place in patterns in both internationals and nationals.
There are three separate categories in Taekwondo: patterns, sparring and breaking. Patterns are combinations of fast and slow skillful moves with extensive footwork. Sparring is the act of practicing combat against a live opponent.
“I am not sparring anymore because at the international tournament I was knocked out. I got a pretty severe concussion,” Pemble voices.
This resulted in the disqualification of his opponent in the final round leading Pemble to victory. This is not the first time he’s been left unconscious during sparring.
“It was a reverse hook kick. It’s a spinning kick. Technically we are light contact, but because I got knocked out I won that round,” Pemble continues. “It really sucked because it was a two day tournament, so I got to go to patterns, and then I got knocked out in sparring and had to spend the night at the hospital. So I missed the breaking the next day.”
The art of breaking is to break as many boards as possible, usually with the foot, but sometimes with the hand at one time.
“I can break five or six boards. Each board is a half inch pine and you stack them all and break them at the same time,” Pemble exclaims.
I was very curious as to why, if this sport is light contact, would the other opponent disobey the rules and use such a kick that could lead to his disqualification.
I asked and Ben said, “There’s many ways you can interpret it. One could be a lack of control, and another could be the power of the kick,” Ben says. “It’s not like you’re trying to hurt each other, but sometimes things just happen.”
Taekwondo is opposite of most sports that we have come to know and love. Taekwondo doesn’t have large teams but instead is more of an individual sport. The contact in Taekwondo is light and involves a lot of practice and determination.
Pemble dedicates a large amount of his time and effort to such an art and will be pursuing it in the future.
“It isn’t just the art of Taekwondo, it’s also my family.”