For 28 years, the Jimmy Kim Invitational has hosted athletes from all the over the USA for one of the best and highly anticipated taekwondo tournaments in the state. The JKI is held in commemoration of the Gold Medal Victory of USA’s Master Jimmy Kim at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. This year, 94 schools brought over 750 competitors to the mats inside the Walter Pyramid at Cal State Long Beach. Quest had a particularly strong showing, with a contingent of 27 athletes competing in poomsae and/or sparring.
Arriving as early as 7:30 AM, the athletes and their coaches checked in, weighed in, got their credentials, stretched, practiced and waited. Family and friends filed into the pyramid. Vendors lined the main causeway. Referees waited below in the eleven octagonal rings.
As the first groups of Poomsae athletes started their competitions, our Quest athletes made use of any space they could find to warm up.
Because there can be long wait times, tournaments are often a test of patience. The trick is to keep your mind occupied, muscles warm, and morale positive.
First up were the Poomsae competitors. Quest was 14 Poomsae Athletes strong; 3 trained by Master Danny Gonzalez and 11 by Master Manny Gildo. It was no surprise that the team’s total medal count was 6 Gold, 2 Silver, and 5 Bronze.
As Poomsae was finishing, Sparring started. Quest had 18 Sparring Athletes, from White to Black Belters. They were coached by Master Vargas and Master Gildo, with Ms. Kamille Carbon and Sir Luigi Lopez filling in when more coaches were needed on the floor. The fights were intense, with head shots leading our athletes to victory. The final sparring medal count: 7 Gold, 3 Silver, and 2 Bronze.
It was a long day spent in the Pyramid, but one well worth it. On top of the steps outside the Pyramid, Quest coaches and athletes gathered to share their “thoughts” about their day’s performance. After all, athletes must learn how to reflect and learn in order to prepare for the next fight. With a grand total of 25 medals for Quest, our athletes left looking ahead into next year’s JKI event.
Again, we can’t say it enough, but THANK YOU to all our Quest parents, family, and friends whose support helps to propel our athletes onward and upward, before, during, and after any tournaments. We wouldn’t go very far without you all. Thank you.