Although tae kwon do is still going through international rule disagreements and changes, it has been introduced as a demonstration sport in the Olympics and active participants are pushing for it to become a major part of the international games. As a sport, tae kwon do has become popular across the United States, with tournaments somewhere almost every weekend and titles are being contested in every weight class and most ages nationally and in nearly every state.
The United States Tae Kwon Do-Brandon team works out and trains five nights a week in the Super Fitness Center off Parsons Avenue near SR 60.
Don Oleson is the Sabanim (instructor) for the local martial arts team.
Robert Campbell, Aaron Levin and James Stephens competed in the most recent national tournament last April but did not place. Matt Oleson placed third nationally three years ago in the first-degree black belt division for boys.
He was 10 at the time.
All four of this year's competitors are first-degree black belts.
Campbell, 21, graduated this month from the University of South Florida with a bachelor of science degree in biology and has been accepted by USF College of Medicine.
He became involved in tae kwon do five years ago primarily because it provided a good fitness workout and taught him self-discipline.
"Tae kwon do is not designed for fighting, it is designed for self-defense," Campbell said. "The discipline has helped me to learn to focus my thoughts and energize my body.
"Once I start medical school, my time to work out and participate in competition will become limited because I will have to focus on my studies. It will still provide a great workout, though."
Don Oleson, 41, is a fourth-degree black belt who trains and instructs a minimum of three hours daily. He still competes in about 15 tournaments each year.
"I don't know if there was anything in particular that caused me to get involved in tae kwon do," Oleson said. "It has always helped me with my self-discipline and confidence."
Last weekend, 12 of the locals traveled to Orlando to compete in the Olympic Tae Kwon Do Friendly Tournament. Six of them won individual meet championships.
Title winners included Matt Oleson, first in junior boys (13-14) second degree black belt division, Lugene Luckey, first in the junior boys yellow belt division, Brian Howsare first in boys (9-10) green belt division, Douglass Dollar, first in men's yellow belt division, Marcus Bogaert, first in boys (11-12) white belt division and Khristian Anderson, first in girls (16-18) white belt division.
Second-place winners included Campbell in the senior men's black belt division, Lisa McCorkle in the senior women's black belt division, Amy Forsyth in the girls (13-14) yellow belt division, Jerry Collier in the men's white belt division and Michael Bogaert in the boys (9-10) white belt division.
Travis Brotherton placed third in the boys (11-12) first-degree black belt division.
MADD golf: In memory of Carl Carlin of Brandon, who died in an auto accident where a driver was charged for driving while intoxicated, Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) has started a fund-raising golf tournament at the Buckhorn Golf and Country Club in Valrico.
Tournament officials have scheduled 9 a.m. starts June 20 and 21. Entry fees are $100 per individual or $200 per team.
All proceeds benefit the Hillsborough County Chapter of MADD.
For more information call Tom or Carleen Carlin at 689-1496.
YMCA softball camp: Brandon High head softball coach Angela Slater will be conducting three weeklong camps at the Brandon Family YMCA starting Monday.
The first session, June 10-14, is for youngsters 8-12 years of age.
Sessions II and III are from June 17-21 and June 24-28 respectively, both for youngsters ages 13-17. All three sessions are conducted from 3-6 p.m.
For additional information contact Laurie Ellis at 685-5402.
Indoor youth soccer: Registrations will be accepted right up to the last minute for the new indoor recreation soccer league scheduled to start play at the Brandon YMCA on June 15 at 8 a.m.
Games will be played each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon in the Y's reconstructed gym.
For more information call Mike Murray at 685-5402.
To report Brandon Area sports information write to Terry Jones, Around Brandon, c/o St. Petersburg Times Sports, 723 W Lumsden Road, Brandon, 33510, or call 264-3394.