More than 500 competitors kicked and punched their way through the Jimmy Kim Olympic Gold Medal Commemorative Tae Kwon Do Championship held Saturday at Cerritos High School.
The events offered were poomse , or compulsory forms, kyuroogi , or free sparring, and kyuk-pah , or high jump kicking to break boards. Both males and females took part, and competitors ranged in age from 3 to adult and from white belt to black belt.
Although the day was long for the youngest competitors, and at least one youngster missed his nap to compete, all seemed to participate enthusiastically in a sport that is rising in popularity in Southern California, aided by its acceptance as an Olympic event.
At left, youngsters waiting their turns to spar look something like junior spacemen in the helmets and protective padding they are required to wear.
Jason Porter, 3, of Montebello was the youngest competitor. Below, he sits hopefully on winner's platform as a black-belt holder approaches. Later, in his mother's arms, he starts to get sleepy as his nap time approaches faster than his turn to spar.