For the last seven years, Matt Yu has been teaching stances, hand attacks, kicks and blocks in his Wilmington studio. With more than 30 years of experience in taekwondo and other forms of martial arts, he has always maintained a dream for himself and his studio.
“I have five kids, and we have competed in martial arts our entire lives,” Yu said. “It was always my goal to one day host a tournament of my own.”
Saturday, Aug. 16, Yu and his Dynamic Martial Arts School will host the Port City Battle tournament at the Cape Fear Community College Schwartz Center on North Front Street. This will be the second time Yu has hosted this tournament.
In 2013, the Port City Battle attracted more than 150 competitors. Based on the success of last year’s tournament, Yu believes the 2014 edition could have 250-300 competitors from three different states. Six different martial arts schools from the Wilmington region will be competing.
“With the help of parents and volunteers, we were able to set everything up way in advance and make the tournament as smooth as possible,” Yu said. “This helps bring people back, and through word of mouth we’re hoping to build on last year’s tournament.”
There will be three different events competitors can participate in: forms, weapons and sparring. Forms and weapons are performances, while sparring is one-on-one combat. In the sparring event, no shots to the face are permitted and each competitor must wear headgear, hand pads, feet pads and a mouthpiece.
The tournament will also divide into nine groups based on age and experience in martial arts. Yu believes the ages will range from 4 to 78 years old.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. the day of the event. There is a $50 fee to participate, covering all events and a prize sword for each competitor. The tournament will begin at 10 a.m. and Yu expects to conclude in three or four hours.
Despite the Dynamic Martial Arts School teaching exclusively taekwondo, all forms of martial arts are welcome in this tournament. Yu believes taekwondo, kung fu and karate will be the three main practices of martial arts represented.
“I believe in the saying, ‘competing is winning,’” Yu said. “This event could help open their eyes to other practices, but also help them compare their progress to other people their age outside my school. But the main thing that I want every competitor to accomplish is that they had fun in the Port City Battle.”