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Moray martial arts club Scotland Tang Soo Do celebrate 30th anniversary by staging Scottish Championships in Lossiemouth

By Craig Christie

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Thirty years on from being founded at RAF Kinloss and Forres, a martial arts club has marked its anniversary in style.

The competitors line up in Lossiemouth before the championships
The competitors line up in Lossiemouth before the championships

Scotland Tang Soo Do (STSD) now has clubs based in Forres, Hopeman, Elgin, Lossiemouth, Keith and Huntly as well as Inverness, Thurso, Alness and even Edinburgh.

Started by Master Jan De-Vry in 1993 at the former air base in Kinloss, the club introduced many to the disciplines of tang soo-do, a Korean martial art based on karate.

The club has trained countless students across the north, many from beginner level to instructor and beyond.

To celebrate their 30th anniversary, STSD decided to stage a Scottish Championships at Lossiemouth Sports and Community Centre, inviting some of the country's top martial arts talent.

Around 120 travelling competitors made their way to Moray for the event, which was followed by a party at Elgin City Football Club.

Championship director Michelle Raisborough said VIPs who attended the competition included Grandmaster Robert Salm from Holland, Grandmaster Ashok Kumar and Master Geoff Keerie from England. Scotland Tang Soo Do founder Master Jan De-Vry, who is now based in Germany, and Master Kelly O'Connor, STSD leader from Inverness.

Michelle, who leads Evolution Martial Arts, based in Lossiemouth, presented Masters Jan and Kelly with glass awards to thank them for their contribution to tang soo do in Scotland.

"All of the STSD clubs were also recognised, and club heads were awarded a glass plaque as a thank you for their contributions and support," she said.

"As an added surprise Master Kelly was recognised by GM Kumar as a Tang Soo Do 7th Dan, making her the highest-ranking female in Europe."

Kelly O'Connor receives her 7th Dan.
Kelly O'Connor receives her 7th Dan.

The competition then got under way, with 68 different categories contested by athletes as young as eight up to the eldest at 60.

"Tang Soo Do competes in the disciplines of Hyungs (patterns of moves with martial arts techniques), Weapons Hyungs, including Nunchaku, Bo Staff, Sword and Knife," Michelle explained.

"There was some very tough competition, but the competitors kept their nerve to perform for the judges, which created some difficult decisions to determine who to award the medals to.

"Following a short break for lunch, the sparring categories began, and the judges were treated to some truly awesome martial arts displays by the competitors. Always a favourite with the spectators, the competition ended with the Masters and Black Belt categories.

"What a great day of sport, martial arts, friendship, and fellowship."

To learn more about tang soo do or find out about classes locally, visit the STSD website.

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