MARTIAL ARTS: KC's Tae Kwon Do team brings home 12 State Titles

KC’s Family Tae Kwon Do earns 12 AZMARRS State Championship Titles in Gilbert Tournament

Courtesy Photo<br/>The Advanced belts team from KC’s Tae Kwon Do.

Courtesy Photo<br/>The Advanced belts team from KC’s Tae Kwon Do.

Top-rated competitors from all over Arizona gathered on Saturday, Jan. 30 for the AZMARRS State Championship Martial Arts Tournament in Gilbert. KC's Family Tae Kwon Do from Camp Verde returned home with a whopping 12 State Titles to their credit.

Fourteen competitors from the school attended the tournament and ten were crowned State Champion, with KC's Brown Belts Cody Zellner, Age 14, and Luke Jonas, Age 11, winning in two different divisions.

The competition started out with Beginner and Intermediate Belts going head-to-head in Musical Forms, Weapons Forms, Open Hand Forms, and then Sparring. Forms divisions feature the competitor performing choreographed moves using punching, blocking and kicking skills appropriate for their Belt Level, some adding acrobatic moves for flair.

At only age 7, Christopher Conover became a 2-Time State Champ when he won for the second consecutive year with his nun chucks in Weapons Forms. Newcomers Tim Moser, in the Beginner Adult Weapons Division, and Sierra Romero, in the Beginner Kids 8-9 Forms Division, won their first State Championship.

Once the Beginners and Intermediates were finished, it was time to bring in the heavy hitters with the Advanced and Black Belt Divisions. Jonas competed in 4 Advanced Divisions - Musical, Weapons, Forms, and Sparring - and was victorious in Musicals and Weapons, where he performs with nun chucks at a high level of skill and throws acrobatic kicks and tricks that the "Extreme" Martial Arts are known for. Zellner competed in Advanced Forms and Sparring, winning both divisions and "wowing" the crowd during his final sparring match, where his brute strength and size helped him to dominate. Other Advanced winners from KC's included Danna Hunton (sparring), Vivien Ott (sparring), Bridget Shuflin (musical), Samantha Rivenburg (weapons), and Izzy "Susan" Housenga (forms).

"Most of our Advanced Belts will be making the transition to Black Belt this year, so competition will be a whole other level for them next season. I'm so proud to see them all at the top of their game right before Black Belt Testing, " said Head Instructor Karen Conover, who also attended the tournament as a Coach for the students and performed the task of Ringside Judge with other School Owners and Instructors.

KC's also had one student, Kestrel Gorlick, who wears the Conditional Black Belt, compete in the Black Belt Division Gorlick put in three fantastic performances in Musical, Weapons, and Traditional Forms, missing out on the Title but representing KC's with pride.

Others who competed and round out the KC's Team include Kirsten Conover (Advanced), Megan Drumm (Advanced), and Sara Jewell (Intermediate).

A tight-knit group of parents and fans accompanied the group to cheer them on during the tournament. Amy Romero, mother of Sierra, who attended States for the first time commented, "Most of all, I was impressed with the sportsmanship, friendship, and respect displayed today (by the KC's students). It truly is a testament to the studio to watch our kids cheer on their competitors ... Job well done."

KC's students are always encouraged to go above and beyond with respect toward others and could often be seen giving 'High-Fives' to each person in their Division.

This year marks the third year in a row that KC's has garnered more than 10 Arizona State Championship Titles, an outstanding credit considering the school has only been operating for three years.

KC's offers classes for children and adults of the Verde Valley in American Freestyle tae kwon do, tumbling, cardio-kickboxing fitness class, and yoga. For more information on the school, its competition programs, or how to try a free class, contact them at 928-554-0140 or on the web at


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