Sports Zone, Springfield

Hanmadang 2023: Springfield martial arts festival breaks the mold

SPRINGFIELD — This year’s Oregon State Hanmadang was the fourth annual event, with the first three editions taking place in different parts of Eugene. This year, organizers Tim Greathouse and Lada Korol decided to move the event to the Bob Keefer Center in Springfield. Greathouse said the extra space allowed him and Korol to do certain things they’d always wanted to, like having the vendor section slightly separate from the tournament.

“We’re definitely going to talk about being there again next year. It definitely had the space that we needed, and we loved it,” Greathouse said. “We had the space to really do what we wanted with the vendors, and that made a huge difference.”

The rock climbing wall and vendor area, which included an arts and crafts table, allowed the younger attendees to stay occupied while waiting for their turn in the tournament, something Greathouse says
is a struggle at lots of martial arts tournaments.

“One of the hard parts about tournaments (for the kids) is waiting for your events. And what Lada has done here is she’s given an antidote to that,” Greathouse said. “While the participants are waiting for their events, or they’re waiting for their friends to finish, they’re getting their hair styled and braided, or making birdhouses, or rock climbing. It’s just an amazing way for the kids to stay active and stay engaged and occupied.”

The venue hosted the 4th-annual ORST Hanmadang, a two-day celebration and competition of martial arts. Friday night was the martial arts expo, with multiple groups showing off their martial arts for the crowd. There was Master JT Dean, of Eugene’s Northwest Kummooyeh, performing a Tatami sword cutting exhibition; Erik Rhay and Davey Jackson leading a Capoeira Roda, a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music; and a traditional lion dance performed by East/West Kung Fu.

Grandmasters highlight judging

One of the highlights of the Hanmadang was the nine martial arts grandmasters in attendace. A Grandmaster in martial arts is usually someone who is an incredibly experienced and accomplished
member in their martial art. The nine grandmasters in attendance were: GM Chris Thoen, GM Sammy Pejo, GM Ron Suggs, GM Julian Vasquez, GM Steve Miller, GM Charles Podzaline, GM Henk Boese, GM Nelson DeJesus, and GM Robert Nicholls. These grandmasters were honored guests, but were also the judges for the different martial arts competitions on Saturday.

Eight students earn scholarship awards

Another positive that comes from the ORST Hanmadang each year is the scholarship winners. This year eight winners will be announced, although as of deadline the winners are TBD. Greathouse said the winners should be announced Wednesday of this week. Four winners will be awarded with 529 college savings accounts, $500 worth courtesy of investment adviser Rodger Deevers, while four others will be awarded new laptops thanks to Jessica Ahrenholtz of Next Step.



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