Members of the Cloverdale Black Belt Academy recently competed in two US tournaments

Members of the Cloverdale Black Belt Academy recently competed in a few US tournaments for the first time in two years.

Karen and David Bennett, along with a handful of their students, have represented Cloverdale Black Belt Academy in two tournaments that make up the World Championships.

The first tournament, the Tournament of Champions, takes place as a “closer” to the tournament season, in this case 2021-2022. The top competitors from the previous season compete over three days for top honors in eight different events.

At the Tournament of Champions, held in Phoenix July 13-15, David said four Cloverdale Black Belt Academy students competed with Karen Bennett.

David said the second tournament, the World Championships, will kick off the next tournament season (2022-2023). More than 3,000 athletes from more than 10 countries participated in the championships, which took place at the same venue in Phoenix on July 16-17.

“We had five students competing and combined we got two first, two second, four third and four fourth places,” David said. “We were also able to put together a Canadian team to participate in an international competition in team sparring and combat arms sparring.

David said the Canadian legends team (over 40) placed second in gunfights and third in sparring.

“It was the first world championships we could participate in since 2019,” explained David. “Karen won two gold medals and the World Champion titles in the masters division for creative weapons and extreme weapons.

“One of our youngest Canadian competitors, Talon Madden, won a silver medal in combat arms training in the 11-12 year old black belt 1st degree division.

David added that he finished third in the weapons competition and Eugeniusz Warezak placed fourth in form, sparring and combat weapons combat.

Cloverdale Black Belt Academy participates in American Taekwondo Association (ATA) martial arts. The ATA has over 300,000 members worldwide and, since its inception in 1969, has educated over one million students. The ATA’s annual tournament circuit includes regional, district, national and world championships.

“Cloverdale Black Belt Academy is planning to hold a regional tournament in December,” David said. “(This) will be the ATA’s first Canadian regional tournament since we last hosted in November 2019, before the pandemic.”

David said athletes earn places in higher tournaments by accumulating placement points. Athletes can earn points by finishing first, second or third in various events for their age and category.

“At the end of the tournament year, the competitors in the top ten for points in each category compete in the Tournament of Champions,” David explained. “It completes the tournament season as a world champion in each event is decided.”

For more information on ATA Martial Arts, visit Visit to learn more about Cloverdale Black Belt Academy.

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