PENDLETON — Iron Horse Martial Arts and 19 other dojangs came together recently for the inaugural Great Lakes Taekwondo United (“GTU”) all-day cross-training event, in preparation for nationals and team trials this summer.
The May 20 event concluded with awarding $4,000 between the top 20 athletes with the top 10 athletes receiving a special GTU banner and a $250 stipend to go toward nationals.
Iron Horse’s Jewel Edwards earned a top 10 standout athlete award. Iron Horse is one of the inaugural affiliate dojangs along with Master Gerber being one of a handful to help brainstorm this event.
The gathering of unity included Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and even Canada.
More than 145 athletes from all levels showcased their skills and determination.
Master Alex Covert, the head of Michigan AAU and one of the spearheads for GTU, said GTU was formed “because I never want the lack of funds to prevent an athlete from reaching their potential. I also kept getting asked weekly to cross train with various clubs … so instead of me going every weekend to train with another club, we get all like-minded coaches to get together at same time. I am also tired of seeing exhibitions at sanctioned tournaments that are not where they should be done; they belong at cross trainings.”
GTU’s mission is to provide taekwondo athletes in the Great Lakes Region education, training and financial support for local, national and international competitions.
Additionally, Master Covert said, “be the person you wish you had when you were in the athlete’s position,” and for that wishes he would have done this sooner.