By Allison Underhill and Maddie Stevens
When Jamey Clark was in second grade her grandmother bought her a gift at a local elementary school silent auction. This gift was a certificate to train at the High Performance Martial Arts School in Carmel. Now, two years later, Jamey is one of the top martial arts athletes in the United States.
Clark, 7, will compete at the 2015 U.S. National Taekwondo Championships in Austin, Texas on July 4 – 11. However, she is not the only student at High Performance Martial Arts to be competing.
Anthony Golden, 18, and Sarah Kolpe, 11, will also travel to Austin to compete in the National Taekwondo Championships.
These High Performance Martial Arts students qualified for the National Taekwondo Championships by placing first, second or third at their respective state tournaments.
Next month, Golden will participate in sparring events. Clark has qualified for sparring, board breaking and Poomsae events and Kolpe will also compete in Poomsae events.
While Clark and Kolpe will compete at the National Championships for their first times, Golden is a veteran. He qualified for last year’s National Championships, but unfortunately he did not make it past the first round.
He has a different plan for this year.
“I’m really excited to go,” Golden said. “I want to place so I can qualify for the National Team.”
The process of qualifying for the U.S. National Taekwondo Team is lengthy; competitors first have to place within the top three of their event at the National Taekwondo Championships. Those who qualify are then given the opportunity to try out for the National Team. If selected for the National Team, competitors are able to compete in Taekwondo competitions around the world.
High Performance Martial Arts coaches Candice White and Andrew White, however, are not focusing their attention on National Team qualifications.
“We want our students to improve,” Golden said. “We try not to focus on results as much, just getting better.”
The mother-son duo owns the school together. Candice has been coaching for 15 years since starting the school in 2000 and has sent 10 other Taekwondo students to the National Championships.
Candice attributes her students’ success to their hard work and dedication to the sport. Anthony practices for over five hours every week, both at High Performance Martial Arts and at home. Sarah trains three hours each week, and Jamey trains seven hours.
“The best part of coaching is being able to watch the kids grow as athletes and people and accomplish their goals,” Candice said