Langley martial artist heads for championships

Chutong Huang will be competing with students from all over the Americas.

A Langely martial artist is heading to Costa Rica for the Pan Am Junior Tae Kwon Do Championships at the end of August.

Chutong Huang, 14, has been training in tae kwon do for six years, including four years with Gary McLaughlin of the Woo Kim school in Langley.

This will be the biggest competition Huang has taken part in since she competed in the US Open earlier this year – she brought home a bronze from that event.

In an email interview, Huang said she was “very nervous.”

“Sir [McLaughlin] says being nervous is okay, that if you are nervous it means it is something that is important, so take that feeling and use it to your advantage,” she said. “Take that energy and focus it into your kicks and strikes. This helps me when I am in the ring.”

Aside from practicing tae kwon do itself, she said she does a lot of cardio.

One of her training assets is her older sister Shijai, who is a national bronze medalist.

“My sister is 17 and she is bigger and stronger,” said Huang. “When we train together, she doesn’t hold back. So when I spar with someone my size, I find it easier.”

Huang is a first degree black belt and a member of the Woo Kim Langley Warriors Competition Team, said McLaughlin, who will be going to Costa Rica as well as a coach with the Canadian team.

His student has won many local and B.C. titles, and has competed in national comptitions this year and last, winning two national titles so far.

She is also the reigning gold medalist from the Washington State Governor’s Cup.