The Whakatane Haidong Gumdo, a Korean Sword Martial Art, has had four club members return from Korea, where they represented Haidong Gumdo Team New Zealand in World Mulimpia from July 12-14.
Almost $13,000 was raised in order to get Ashley and Danyel Degenhardt and Shayne and Noah Robinson to compete against over 2000 other Haidong Gumdo Martial Artists from 50 countries around the world.
Head Instructor for the club Danyel Degenhardt says without the amazing support of the community, especially our major sponsor the Whakatane-Ohope Community Board, this would not have been possible.
“We are so proud to have represented our country and Whakatane on an international stage.”
The first event was individual gumbup, or patterns. The competition was fierce, and each member missed out on the finals by only a couple points out of 300.
“The patterns were as diverse as the people from around the world,” Danyel says.
“What we learned will set us up to succeed next time.”
Ashley Degenhardt taking part in papercutting. Image: Supplied.
Papercutting followed, where competitors use a bamboo sword to cut a newsprint sized paper. 20 points per cut were given for accuracy and precision. Again, Team NZ missed out of the medal round, this time by just millimetres.
Shayne and Noah were able to compete in a family event as father and son, doing their gumbup side by side in front of the judges.
"It was a great opportunity to compete in a sport alongside your whanau. To learn, grow and fight together as a team,” says Shayne.
One of the most dangerous and engaging events was bamboo cutting. Danyel competed in this timed event by making four specific cuts on two upright bamboo.
“I completed all four cuts under seven seconds, however one of my cuts went through a ring in the bamboo,” Danyel says.
Even though Haidong Gumdo Team New Zealand did not bring any medals home, the trip was considered a massive success. The most important part of Mulimpia for all the members were the connections they made with people all around the world who share their passion for sword.
Shayne and Noah Robinson competing together. Image: Supplied.
Moving forward, the lessons learned through the seminars and competitions have fueled a fire in the club.
“We have already begun preparations for Haidong Gumdo Oceania next year,” says Danyel.
“Fiji is looking to host for the first time, and I want our entire club there!”
You can follow their ongoing journey and watch their Mulimpia Video on Instagram @whkhaidonggumdo and on Facebook at Whakatane Haidong Gumdo.
If you want to find out how to safely use a sword yourself, they train out of Ohope Hall on Tuesday evenings at 6PM and they welcome all levels and ages with the first two weeks free.
Danyel Degenhart participating in bamboo cutting. Image: Supplied.