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Ross Tae Kwon Do wins several state titles

Members of Ross Tae Kwon Do in Demopolis have been recognized as state champions through the Alabama Karate Circuit.

Eight members returned with state championship trophies, and several students came back with second- and third place state trophies.

State champions are determined on a points system that is tallied throughout the year.

“The season begins at the first of the year,” said instructor Ronda Russell. “Usually, the first tournament is in February. We went to six tournaments this year. We’ve got eight state championships. We’ve got five black belt and three under-belt (ranked below black belt.”

Earning state championships were: Ronda Russell, women’s black belt forms and black belt weapons; Ron Ross, men’s 40-and-over black belt point sparring; and Jay Russell, men’s 30-and-over black belt point sparring and red, brown and men’s 18-and-over black belt continuous fighting/kick-boxing.

Ross students received trophies during the weekend of Oct. 24-26 from one tournament.

“Our kids were great,” Ronda Russell said. “Even if they didn’t place among the top three, they did real great. They never stopped; they kept going all year long. Even if it looked like they wouldn’t get anything (finishing among the top three), they kept going. Several who didn’t get anything at the first of the year ended up being the best in their division by the end of the year.

“Everybody had a good drive. Nobody had any kind of attitude about it or got upset if they didn’t get anything. It wasn’t about getting anything; it was about doing your best.”

“The only tournament we participated in when people didn’t bring home two trophies was the first tournament,” Ross said. “After that, everyone who went brought home two trophies.”

As is usually the case in Marengo County sports, the Ross students fared very well even against much larger teams.

“This was going against schools with 150-plus students,” said Ronda Russell.

“The best schools in the nation,” Ross said.

“Yes, schools that completely outnumber us,” Ronda Russell said. “We’ve gone against schools from Tennessee on occasion.

“Everybody did just great. I completed the whole year, even though I was pregnant. The last tournament we went to, obviously, I wasn’t, but the tournament I competed in before that, I was 8-1/2 months pregnant. I competed in forms and weapons all year long. I couldn’t spar.”

Ronda Russell said that the team practiced a lot together using team concepts.

“If one person got first place, everyone got first place,” she said, “because everybody helped them get that first place. I think we felt more like a team, and that’s the reason we called ourselves a team everywhere we went, and a lot of schools did the same thing; it helped motivate the smaller students in the lower ranks.

“I was really pleased. I think everyone was really pleased with the way it turned out. Nobody who went came away with less than third place, and that’s a huge honor for a little bitty club like us to have! After the first couple of tournaments, people knew exactly what team we were on.”

Ross Tae Kwon Do is located on U.. Highway 43 South next to Kora’s Restaurant. Its instructors are Ronda and Jay Russell and Ron Ross. For more information about the school, call 289-9775.