Brittany Waite got a little anxious when she found out she would have to be elevated to the girls’ Taekwondo Heavyweight Division at the 2014 B.C. Master’s Cup in Vancouver in early November.
Since there was no one else eligible for her to compete against in her regular weight category, Waite, 15, would need to move up.
And not just against anyone.
“I sparred against [my opponent] in Vancouver a couple years ago in the same tournament, and I wasn’t too sure because she could have gotten better, you never know,” said Waite last week before a training session with Master Paul Bozman at the Prince Rupert Taekwondo and Martial Arts Centre last Thursday evening.
“I remember that her kiai at the beginning (a short yell or shout exclaimed before starting a spar or an individual move) was really loud and high-pitched so as soon as we started the match she did this high-pitched kiai and I was prepared for it.”
Turns out, Waite didn’t need to worry one bit.
The Rupertite’s opponent lasted 20 seconds in the ring before Waite finished the sparring session early with a spinning back kick that knocked her foe out.
“It was 20 seconds and then I scored seven points and then she scored zero and then I did a high roundhouse then a spinning back kick then I knocked her out,” said Waite, recalling the bout.
Waite won the gold medal on a technical knockout – a decisive win in which the doctor on hand rules that the spar is over.
But Waite wasn’t prepared for such a short stint on the mat.
“When she went down I just backed off and turned around to Master Paul because he was coaching me in the chair behind me. Then he stood up and said ‘the doctor called it’. And I was so in the zone in the fight that I couldn’t understand what he was saying,” she said.
The 20-second spar was the shortest fight Waite had ever been a part of and her 7-0 score was an incredible feat in the short time-frame – spars typically last three rounds with a minute each round, and a win is based on points.
One point is awarded for a roundhouse kick to the hogu, or chest protector, two points for a spinning kick to the hogu, and three for a kick to the head.
While Waite was able to claim gold in her Heavyweight Division, she was also coaching fellow Prince Rupert Taekwondo student Julius Watts, 10, while at the tournament. Watts earned two silver medals to add to his already extensive collection.
To prepare for the Master’s Cup, held at Capilano University annually, Waite trained with Derek Wong, a taekwondo guru, along with Master Paul Bozman, and tried out a wall harness.
“We did different drills that would put tension on it and I’d do axe kicks and roundhouses,” she explained.
Some other, more unorthodox training took place a day before as well when, with her grandpa and Master Paul, Waite would meander around the Vancouver-area malls and stairwells and train while shopping.
“I wore ankle weights when we went shopping and then my grandpa would go up the escalator and then Master Paul and I would race up the stairs with the ankle weights,” said Waite.
“Some people would look at us, running up and down the stairs at the Skytrain too,” she recalled.
Waite, who also plays soccer and hockey will now add her gold medal to her hardware collection, which includes gold, silver and bronze medals from past Master’s competitions.