Ipswich competitors travelling well to meet world's best
MARTIAL ARTS: Ipswich father and son team Derek and Blake Murray will encounter a series of new challenges when they fly to South Korea this morning for their latest world titles mission.
Apart from a nine-hour flight and four-hour bus trip to reach their destination, the accomplished competitors will face higher level competition and team up in a first-time event.
Blake, 14, won two junior events and collected a silver medal at the previous Mulimpia World Martial Arts Championships in 2017 at the same stadium, used for the Winter Olympics.
With the world championships held every two years, Blake will meet increased competition against black belt opponents in his Haidong Gumdo and taekwondo disciplines.
Haidong Gumdo is a form of Korean sword martial arts.
At the latest international event, defending coloured belt world champion Blake will compete in higher level patterns and paper cutting events, as an individual and in a four-person team featuring masters.
Blake will contest a separate taekwondo tournament for black belts.
Derek will test his skills in Gumdo paper-cutting against other coloured belt competitors. Two years ago, Derek impressed in the early stages of the open competition.
Blake and Derek will also team up in a new family paper-cutting event, where they'll challenge other westerners before having a chance to progress to the finals.
Their intense series of competition events start tomorrow, just hours after the Flinders View duo arrive at their overseas destination.
Thousands of Korean competitors, among the best in the world, are expected to challenge for major titles.
However, Derek's wife and Blake's mum Claudia said the Ipswich martial arts exponents were excited and well prepared for their latest elite level competition.
"It's a really good opportunity,'' said Claudia, who has national technical judge qualifications in taekwondo.
She said Blake had recovered from some recent tendonitis due to his heavy competitive workload.
Despite those issues, the committed teenager has thrived at state and national competitions, fine-tuning for his latest Korean campaign.
Blake was the 2017 QT-City of Ipswich Junior Sportstar of the Year being a world champion. He's also an instructor, helping others advance in their sport.
Derek has been juggling work and training to make the trip. He's also a highly-rated black belt in taekwondo, being a dad, mentor and experienced training partner to Blake.
"Blake is in top form. Derek is in top form,'' the supportive Claudia said as they prepared for an 8.30am flight.