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Local martial artist finds wait worth his time
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July 29, 2008
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MARTINSVILLE

While competing at an international Tae Kwon Do event in mid-July, David Yoshida of Martinsville experienced a lighter moment despite the serious nature of his visit in southern California.

He arrived in Anaheim, Calif., on July 16 only to find out that he didn’t have an identification badge to compete in the individual poomsae division and was told to return the following day to pick it up.

The individual poomsae is a prearranged set of movements that simulate combat. It is one of the core fundamentals in Tae Kwon Do, Yoshida said.

Yoshida returned the following day, and was told his badge still wasn’t ready, so he was told to come back later. It took two more trips before the badge was ready because organizers of the competition were running behind.

The Colombian team at the event ran into the same problem at that time, and he and that team shared a laugh about it. Finally, on July 19 — the day he was both competing and leaving to fly back to Martinsville — he and the Colombian team were “hanging around” when their badges were ready.

“It’s moments like that, even though you don’t speak the same language, you can still communicate,” Yoshida said.

That hiccup, and coming close to missing his flight back to Indiana, might have caused a chuckle and some heartache, but he did bring home some golden hardware.

Yoshida, an assistant instructor at Gentry’s Martial Arts in Martinsville and student of head instructor Brandon Sieg, won the gold medal in his division in the competition.

“It was really a very good, very positive experience,” Yoshida said.

He competed on July 19 and because a large number of competitors in the children’s division earlier in the day delayed the rest of the day’s schedule, he came close to missing his flight.

His flight out of Los Angeles was supposed to leave at 11 p.m. and it was approaching 9:30 p.m. when he finally found out the results.

The rest of the age groups were still competing, but because his division was done, his division was able to find out the results and he reached the flight in time.

Sieg said it was great to see a student and friend succeed, but said he wasn’t surprised.

“I certainly wanted the best for him,” Sieg said. “He’s a natural ability. He’s always done well.”

Sieg, who met Yoshida at DePauw University, said he looks at the gold medal as “validation of how hard our students work.” He said Gentry’s Martial Arts doesn’t emphasize competitions such as the one Yoshida participated in, but it is “encouraging that we’re on the right track.”

Competing on an international stage was an opportunity to not only showcase his skills, but to take a vacation — something he hadn’t done in quite some time, said Yoshida, who began his martial arts career in 1998 at DePauw, and advanced to the third degree black belt level in Tae Kwon Do in October 2006.

“From a student’s standpoint, I hope that maybe this will inspire others to take their game to the next level,” Sieg said.

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David Yosida, an assistant instructor at Gentry Martial Arts in Martinsville, took home a gold medal at the international Tae Kwon Do competition in southern California. Yoshida is shown here on the podium with his medal. Submitted photo.

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