Athletes from Quest Taekwondo in Redondo Beach have enjoyed success this summer highlighted by its 11-member team that brought home eight medals from the USAT National Taekwondo Championships held in Chicago.
Quest’s Competition Team consisted of athletes ages 14-17 who performed in sparring and poomsae disciplines of Taekwondo, which translates to “the art of striking with the hands and feet.”
Poomsae consists of the various fundamental stances, blocks, punches and kicks logically arranged in a meaningful order in response to attacks from multiple imaginary assailants attacking from different directions. Do, are used. Each movement has a purpose as well as a philosophical meaning.
The team was led by Isabella Pugliese who captured gold in poomsae and silver in sparring in her division. Marcella Pugliese also was a two-time medalist winning silver in sparring and bronze in poomsae.
Jack Klunk and Luigi Lopez earned silver medals in sparring; Caterina Hyneman won bronze in sparring and placed 8th in poomsae; Jonathan Kim was a bronze medalist in sparring and Mitchell Hyneman finished 5th in sparring and 9th in poomsae.
Other members of Quest’s team were Kamille Karbon, Victoria Keller, RJ Moore and Chloe Towns.
“I was very happy with the team’s performance in the Nationals,” said Walter Vargas, Quest’s owner and head instructor. “I was so impressed with the athletes’ great work ethic. I believe the journey is better than the destination.”
One week after the national championship, Quest member Saturday Bashir won gold in the light/welter weight Olympic division at the Korea Open in Chuncheon, South Korea.
The following week, Pauline Lopez, 17, finished 5th in the 2013 Taekwondo World Championships in Puebla, Mexico. Competing for the Philippines, Lopez recently won the gold medal at the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China qualifying her for the Asia Olympics.
Vargas said he has five athletes from the National Competition Team that will be competing in the Pan Am Open Sept. 20-22 in Queretaro, Mexico.
Quest celebrates its 7th anniversary in September and has a goal of developing strong minds, body and spirit at the family-oriented martial arts school.
Vargas, who is a 5th Degree Black Belt, has 150-200 students enrolled and feels taekwondo is beneficial for any athlete of any age.
“We have a lot of kids who participate in other sports like soccer, cross country and track,” Vargas said. “The cross training is great for both the mental and physical aspects of an athlete.”
“I have one of the best Tae Kwon Do Masters in the world coaching my kids right here in Redondo Beach,” Walter Hyneman said. “My kids are learning a lot more than just a sport, they’re being prepared for life.”
Hyneman’s daughter Caterina concurred.
“Taekwondo has taught me so much more than just how to kick and punch,” Caterina said. “I’ve learned discipline, dedication, determination, the true meaning of a team and it has given me the confidence to know that I can defend myself. Taekwondo isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle.”
Quest is located at 800 Torrance Blvd., Ste. 104, Redondo Beach. For more information, visit Questtkd.com.