Young Taekwondo participants practiced their sparring and kicking, under the direction of visiting instructor, Boris Celis from Regina, Saskatchewan who was in town in mid-March. Celis, a fifth degree blackbelt, has been here many times over the past 15 years.
Blackbelts run from first through ninth, with ninth being best.
His first trip to Tumbler Ridge in 1990 was initiated when a former student he trained in Saskatchewan relocated here to teach at the local school. He came out this way to encourage training with the promising student and was taken by the beautiful area. He has been coming back ever since, usually between one to three times each year. In his absence he sends a highly qualified instructor in his place.
Celis owns his own Taekwondo club in Regina, the Celis Taekwondo Academy. In addition, he has over 580 students spread out in nine other clubs around Saskatchewan. He has also owned a similar club while he lived in Vancouver, which is where he came from on his first drive to Tumbler Ridge. Because he currently lives in Regina, he flies to Grande Prairie, rents a vehicle and drives to Tumbler Ridge, quipping, ?I could drive here with my eyes closed.? As if reminiscing, he adds, ?It is so peaceful, I can always sleep here, like nowhere else.?
Over the years he has trained 20?23 blackbelts and is excited to be included as a competitor for the Canadian Taekwondo Federation team in the European Taekwondo Championship to be held in Italy this May. The competition will last a week long, with blackbelt division competing for three days, then two days for special techniques, including board breaking.
The Tumbler Ridge Taekwondo Club is currently handled by Krystina Bielecka with additional help at the seminar from Pernell Kirby and Jayson Gill. There were approximately 18 students attending. The club practices three times a week at Tumbler Ridge Elementary.