Dover mother, son martial arts champions

From left, Grandmaster William Strong, Ozzie Preece, Master Patrick Preece, Kole Turner, Grandmaster Robert Beaudoin, Stephanie Preece and Lily Turner celebrate the Dover family’s titles at the 2019 World Tang Soo Do Association U.S. National Championships in Connecticut last month. Grandmaster Beaudoin is the chairman and Grandmaster Strong is the president of the World Tang Soo Do Association.

DOVER — When 12-year-old Kole Turner, of Dover, heard his name called during the 2019 World Tang Soo Do Association U.S. National Championships, he was lost for words.

Not because he was named Youth Black Belt Grand Champion, but because his mother Stephanie Preece’s name was called right after as the Female Black Belt Grand Champion.

“Personally I was very excited when I was called,” Kole said. “But I was even happier when my mother’s name was called and we were crowned as champions together. This will definitely be something I will remember for life.”

The 2019 World Tang Soo Do Association U.S. National Championship, which was held at Stamford, Connecticut on July 20, featured hundreds of competitors from all regions of the United States and Canada.

Participants competed in sparring, weapons, open hand forms and breaking.

There were five judges in each competition ring and the competitors were awarded medals based on their performance.

The Grand Champion title is awarded to the competitor with the highest number of points based on medals earned in each category.

Kole was the Youth Black Belt Grand Champion, earning gold medals in sparring and breaking divisions, silver in open hand forms and a bronze in weapons.

Ms. Preece was the Female Black Belt Grand Champion, earning gold medals in weapons, open hand forms, and sparring divisions.

“We have competed at the world tournament four times and regional tournaments 15 or 16 times,” Ms. Preece said. “This is was our first tournament here and for both of us to win was an amazing experience.”

But enduring in marital arts is a family affair for Ms. Preece, as her husband Patrick is the co-owner and co-chief instructor of Kaizen Karate Academy in Dover.

Kole Turner, 12, of Dover, was named the Youth Black Belt Grand Champion last month at the 2019 World Tang Soo Do Association U.S. National Championships, earning gold medals in sparring and breaking divisions, silver in open hand forms and a bronze in weapons.

“He has been training for over 20 years in Tang Soo Do, our discipline,” Ms. Preece said.

“He also has a fifth-degree black belt in Hapkido and a black belt in Taekwondo. My oldest daughter (Lily) began training, then I began and my son (Kole) followed suit. We have a 3-year-old (Ozzie) who will begin training as soon as she is 4 years old in February.”

Mr. Preece is a third-degree black belt and Kole is testing for his second degree in the fall.

Ms. Preece said training with her family and other families is a great bonding experience.

“Our family has been lucky to compete in different tournaments numerous times as well as at many regional tournaments over the past 10 years,” Ms. Preece said.

“Competing together is amazing. We always drive home, not just with our children, but our students, that it isn’t just about winning.

“The hard work and effort they put into their training makes them stronger martial artists, regardless of the outcomes. Training for a tournament requires hours of commitment at this level and each moment they put in serves them in ways more than just in the competition ring.”

The family trains a few times as week. Even though martial arts come second nature to Kole he said he was a little nervous before the U.S. National Championship.

Stephanie Preece of Dover was the Female Black Belt Grand Champion at the 2019 World Tang Soo Do Association U.S. National Championships, earning gold medals in weapons, open hand forms, and sparring divisions.

“Before and even right before getting in to the ring to do my form or even spar, I was a little nervous,” Kole said. “But as soon as I was called, I was ready to compete and so focused that I was not nervous anymore.”

Kole said the atmosphere was competitive, but supportive.

“There was a sense of respect and comradely amongst the competitors,” Kole said. “We each understood how much effort had been put in to prepare for the tournament.

“There was also a sense of pride and brotherhood within our association. Being able to spend time with others that had he same level of appreciation for martial arts was great.”

Just like her son, Ms. Preece’s face lit up when Kole’s name was called, but to her, the experience was more satisfying watching as a mother.

“I couldn’t have been more excited for him,” Ms. Preece said.

“He works hard at everything he does. He’s got a good soul. So to see his face light up, well as a mom, it doesn’t get better than that. As a fellow martial artist, I couldn’t be more proud that his hard work paid off as we held those titles, together.”

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