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All American Tang Soo Do students compete in annual championship tournament

Students from All American Tang Soo Do in Russellville competed in the annual championship tournament for Region 6 in Foley Oct. 23. The region includes Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana.

“Student preparation and performance were exemplary,” said third-degree Black Belt and studio instructor Deryll Banning. “They should all be very proud.” Banning also competed in the tournament, as well as serving as a judge. He won a silver in weapons and a bronze in forms.

For 10-year-old Shaler Stone, the competition was his first experience competing in a tournament, and he won three medals – a silver in weapons, a gold in forms and a gold in sparring.

Stone said the experience was really different from what he expected because of how many people were there. “It was a little hard but also really fun. I got to meet the Grandmaster, and that was very exciting.”

Jonathan Brown, 13, was also competing in his first tournament, and he won three medals – a bronze in weapons, a bronze in forms and a silver in sparring. “It was challenging but also a lot of fun,” Brown agreed. “Competing was scary at first but also really exciting.”

Stephen Strickland won a bronze for forms. Jennifer Hogan won a gold in weapons, silver in forms and gold in sparring and was named the Adult Black Belt Female Grand Champion.

Noah Ray was named Student of the Year, and the Ray family was named Family of the Year.

“Student performance was great,” said Tom Jones, studio owner and chief instructor. Jones won Instructor of the Year for Region 6 at the tournament. “We had a grand time. I’m very proud of everyone. I just wanted them to have fun, but it’s always exciting to see our students excel.”

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