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HomeBusiness & CommunityLocal Tae Kwon Do students excel at the Sunshine State Games

Local Tae Kwon Do students excel at the Sunshine State Games

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On June 18, Moon’s Tae Kwon Do took 20 students to compete in the Sunshine State Games and every participant earned at least one medal. The games, which are modeled after the Olympic games, are held across 40 states. They feature competitions in 90 sports including archery, swimming, and Tae Kwon Do. Most championships are held on different days or times of year. For instance, the 2022 figure skating championships took place in May while the 2021 precision pistol championships were in November of their respective year.
In the Tae Kwon Do championships, not only did all of Moon’s Tae Kwon Do’s students achieve medals between forms and board-breaking, but across all age ranges as well. One such competitor is Stacey Garcia. A 57-year-old Doctor of Physical Therapy, she participated in the over 50 bracket and won the silver medal in forms for 1st degree black belt (also written as Dan).
Below is a list of the competitors, their belt color, their medals earned, and the age bracket they participated in:
Vatsala Sastry (2nd Dan): 2nd place in forms; 50 and over division
Aditya Rao (2nd Dan): 1st place in forms; 30-39 division
Michael Musto (1st Dan): 2nd place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 30-39 division
Lynnette Reina (1st Dan): 2nd place in forms; 30-39 division
Stacey Garcia (1st Dan): 2nd place in forms; 50 and over division
Ivan Reina (Red Belt): 1st place in forms; 40-49 division
Alana Reina (Green Belt): 2nd place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 8/9-year-olds
Alex Reina (White Belt): 3rd place in forms, 2nd place in board breaking; 6/7-year-olds
Aubrey Kymer (Yellow Belt): 1st place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 8/9-year-olds
Hannah Han (Blue Belt): 1st place in forms, 2nd place in board breaking; 8/9-year-olds
Alfredo Tirado (Yellow Belt): 3rd place in forms, 3rd place in board breaking; 8/9-year-olds
Ty Thomas (Yellow Belt): 2nd place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 6/7-year-olds
Georgie Albarella (Green Belt): 3rd place in forms; 10/11-year-olds
Annelsy Marte (White Belt): 1st place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 16/17-year-olds
Adalee McKim (Yellow Belt): 2nd place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 8/9-year-olds
Addison McKim (Purple Belt): 2nd place in forms; 10/11-year-olds
Jordyn Varney (White Belt): 1st place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 8/9-year-olds
Zachary Leve (Yellow Belt): 1st place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 12/13-year-olds
Jandalee Marte (Green Belt): 1st place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 18/19-year-olds
Travis Long (Green Belt): 1st place in forms, 1st place in board breaking; 6/7-year-olds

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That is quite the achievement for the students and the school, but what is Moon’s Tae Kwon Do?
Located on 13080 Spring Hill Drive in Spring Hill, Moon’s Tae Kwon Do College teaches the Tae Gu form of Tae Kwon Do across a variety of age groups. The youngest student begins at 5 years old in the Little Tiger class and the oldest current student reaches to 63 in the Adult/Teen class. Students can train in forms, sparring or weapons, which include nunchucks, swords, and sticks for defensive purposes.

“So very much a defensive sport,” Doctor Garcia said. “It helps with especially kids who are not able to focus. Even adults. It definitely helps with self-discipline, control, learning to respect your elders, and just respect the world and people around you.”
The school is family owned and has two Korean grand masters, Masters Moon and Chun, who are husband and wife. Not only are they both 7th degree black belts, but they also have each accrued a plethora of titles and accolades in Tae Kwon Do. Master Moon was the USAT National Demonstration Head Coach in 2010 while Master Chun is a three-time champion in World Tae Kwon Do Han Ma Dang Individual Demonstration. They also have two children, Faith and David, who are 4th degree and 3rd degree black belts respectively.
The family atmosphere extends beyond the parents and children, though, as the organization and its members are very supportive of each other. The coaches are not critical if a student fails to place at a competition as long as the student tried their best. The masters also made sure to encourage students who were disappointed they had not placed higher at the Sunshine State Games.
“When you come join Moon’s Tae Kwon Do, it’s not you’re joining the team, you become part of the Moon’s Tae Kwon Do family,” stated Doctor Garcia. “And we truly treat each other as family, as you would your own brother, sister, mother, father. Everybody has that level of respect for each other.”

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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