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PHOTO BY CIERA HUGHES Students at All American Tang Soo Doo show off their medals and trophies from the Region 6 Championship Sept. 7. Pictured are (front from left) Susanne Belew, Jennifer Hogan, (back from left) Maye Kinard, Stephen Strickland, Deryll Banning, studio owner Tom Jones, Cade Parker, Joy Brown and Hannah Aycock.

Russellville martial arts wins big at region championship

Russellville’s All American Tang Soo Do competed in the Region 6 championship fall tournament Sept. 7 in New Orleans, where several students brought home numerous awards and medals.

Susanne Belew was named the senior female grand champion at the competition. Belew took first place in weapons form, empty hands form and sparring.

Jennifer Hogan ended the event as the adult female grand champion with a first-place finish in weapons and sparring and a second-place finish in empty-hand forms.

“I’m honored to be associated with them,” said studio owner Tom Jones about all of his students. “They do a great job, and they’re great ambassadors of the sport.”

Eight students competed at the Region 6 championship, and six students medaled. 

In addition to Below and Hogan, Deryll Banning placed third in both weapons form and empty hands form; Cade Parker placed third in three events: weapons, forms and sparring; Hannah Aycock placed first in form and second in weapons and sparring; and Joy Brown placed second in sparring and third in weapons form.

Jones said before each student competes, he tells them to go out, do their best and not worry about the outcome.

“I am proud of them whether they medal or not,” he said.

Jones said All American Tang Soo Doo competes in tournaments a minimum of twice a year, with the next tournament in the spring. He said this tournament his students competed for titles in Region 6, which includes Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee.

All American Tang Soo Doo is always enrolling new students, beginning at age 6, at both the Russellville and Haleyville studios.

Classes at the Russellville studio are located at the American Health and Fitness Center Monday and Thursday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m.