Taekwondo numbers growing in north rift ahead of Open championships

North Rift martial art and Taekwondo founder Jacton Ratanga is optimistic that the sport has taken shape in the region after years of tapping, nurturing and training young people in the region ahead of this weekend’s Taekwondo Open Championships.

Speaking over the weekend during the second edition of Uasin Gishu Tae Kwondo clinic that attracted over 100 participants, Ratanga said that the region is beating the odds to excel in the sport and ready to compete at the Open championships that will be staged at the Moi University School of Law, Annex Campus.

As a martial art expert who pioneered a Taekwondo club in Eldoret, he was the man conducting the clinic where participants went through various skills and techniques on how to improve the game going forward.

“The participants went through skills like translation of Korean language to English, basics like stances, blocks and punches, kicks and how to do them perfectly,” said Ratang’a.

The Black Belt holder added they also taught participants in Kyorugi, which is fighting through punching and kicking.

“In all these events, the top participant with many marks was awarded the winners. We did a lot of training and the majority was satisfied that it was critical for the event,” he said.

He said that the majority of the participants accompanied their teachers to learn the right skills when it comes to the sport since the majority may be lacking a few marks to stardom that we had to take care of.

“Teachers or trainers are very good people when it comes to any sport in the world. For them to teach the right thing or skill to the students, they have to be conversant with the general knowledge. Heading forward, we want to have as many taekwondo players as possible,” he said.

During the clinic, eight clubs were represented including schools that have the best players across the region.

“I was happy that many schools turned up for the event. It was a great experience because clubs mixing with students gives a variety of talents from different age groups. We had schools like St Scholastica, Highlands Learning Centre, Uasin Gishu High school as the hosts while clubs we had Stima Eldoret, Rogo, Hero Gym, Mikmos, Ultimate team, Hareon Grange, among others,” he said.

With his variety of experience in the game, he has trained hundreds of students. Some of them have acquired Black Belt and employment in various companies because of the discipline they acquired through the five tenets of Taekwondo.

“We teach students the five tenets of martial arts: discipline, etiquette, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. We advise them to remain disciplined in the community. We also guide street children to take the sport seriously as a martial art expert. We always ask ourselves what we can do for Kenya and not what Kenya can do for us,” Ratanga said.

“Since many people in the region are not aware of Taekwondo, I find it hard to recruit new members since most have taken up football and athletics, but his team is trying to educate them,” he said.

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