BERLIN – Students and instructors from Infinity Martial Arts on Route 50 in Berlin not only participated, but also succeeded in their first two tournaments late last month, an impressive feat considering the school has been open for less than half a year.
"They all did so well, I was really excited to see their results. I couldn’t really ask for much more," said Tim Otwell, co-owner of the newly formed martial arts school.
The first tournament his class performed in was the International Taekwondo Foundation (ITF) Goodwill Championship on Oct. 20 in Anne Arundel County.
Hosted by Infinity Martial Arts’ umbrella school, The Kick Connection, the tournament was the first of its type and the first ITF championship held in Maryland.
The tournament drew more than 250 competitors from across the country and some even outside the United States. A single athlete came from Cuba to compete and a school of Brazilian students also competed in the event.
Where this tournament differs from many is that it involves only ITF Taekwondo competitors and schools so participants employ the exact same style of martial arts.
Nine competitors from Infinity Martial Arts participated, most of whom performed in their first official tournament.
Co-owner, instructor and brother of Tim, Mike Otwell competed along with students Alexandra Otwell, Tim’s daughter, Blayne and Gavin Gates, Tayden Kelly, Lily and Ryan Timmons, Flora Barnes and Daniel Zehnter.
Of those competitors, Otwell placed first in sparring and third in patterns, meaning a specific routine of moves that is performed in front of judges who rate the routine on accuracy, power and style.
Gavin Gates was first in sparring in his division, Alexandra Otwell placed first in patterns in her division and Kelly placed second in sparring. Lily and Ryan Timmons, Barnes and Zehnter did not place, but because they are white belt beginners and this was their first, Otwell said they performed well against their more experienced.
On Oct. 27 students also took part in the 11th annual Ocean City Classic, an open tournament with competitors from many different martial arts disciplines.
Again, owner and instructor Otwell competed along with Steve Shotts, Kurt Purnell, Blayne and Gavin Gates, Alexandra Otwell and Devon Tucker.
Shotts and Purnell competed in the Adult jiu jitsu competition, with Purnell placing first in the adult beginner division.
Alexandra Otwell, Blayne and Gavin Gates, and Tucker represented Infinity Martial Arts in weapons division competition.
Placing first in the beginners 9 and under category was six-year-old Alexandra Otwell.
Blayne Gates placed first in intermediate weapons, with brother Gavin placing second. Tucker placed third in beginner weapons.
Alexandra Otwell, Blayne and Gavin Gates also competed in empty hand patterns performing Taekwondo.
Blayne Gates placed second, while both Alexandra Otwell and Gavin Gates ended up in third.
The three also joined Tucker by competing in sparring, as well.
Alexandra Otwell and Blayne Gates finished first, with Gavin Gates in second, and Tucker placing third.
Blayne Gates also won a spot to compete for the weapons grand championship, but lost to last year’s grand champion winner.
Mike Otwell competed in advanced adult jiu jitsu, placing first in the competition, and was the champion of a takedown tournament winning a cash prize against competitors.
He also placed first in the men’s sparring 18-29 division. He competed for the men’s sparring grand championship, taking the fight down to the wire but loosing to the current grand champion by only two points.
Accomplishments aside, the owner, instructor and brotherly duo are impressed that their students were competitive, even if they didn’t bring home a trophy.