Fitness, focus and full contact taekwondo.
Nine fighters from Lithgow's Haktari Taekwondo are set to jet to the Gold Coast for the Australian National Taekwondo Championships from September 6 to 8.
The fighters qualified for nationals after competing in Homebush at the NSW Taekwondo State Championships and selection event, according to Haktari Taekwondo Academy head instructor Jeff Crane.
"The three Pender children won gold medals at Homebush, they fought down there and from that we had some fighters get silver medals and the rest were picked for the Nationals," he said.
Crane said fighters aged from eight through to 13 would be competing at what is known as the highest competition for colour belts.
"None of these guys are in the same weight division as each other so they will fight in different divisions, our ranks are from yellow belt, to blue, to red and to black.
"We have one young black belt girl fighting, Alexis Reid," he said.
Alexis said taekwondo was fun, entertaining and the people she sparred became her friends.
Nine year-old Hunter Pender who has been doing taekwondo for three years, said he hoped to go international one day.
"I want to prove to the world that I can do a sport, I love that we can kick each other with discipline and make lots of friends, it's fun and if you lose it's something to improve on," he said.
Crane said the fighters would be competing in full contact taekwondo with full powered kicks and punches from the hips to the shoulders.
"There are over 2500 competitors and it's a pretty big event, it's an individual sport not a team, you fight your own weight division, own age and belt and our fighters have been training hard," he said.
In the lead up to competition Crane said the kids had been doing sparring for two hours a session.
"They do sparring, bag kicking, rounds and rounds of fighting.
"We spar them against varied size opponents at training to give them a real run and that way they are more prepared for their own division," he said.
He said he also gave them homework to do training for half an hour either in the morning or the evening.
"They need to do skipping, footwork and bag work for the length of a song, they do four songs and rest and go through that twice," he said.
Crane said he hoped for good results again this year.
"Last year we came away with one gold and three silver medals, once you get to Nationals it's the best of the best, every State sends teams.
"Our competition knows when they face boys and girls from Lithgow they're in for a fight," he said.
He said with taekwondo being the biggest martial art in the world there was a chance for Lithgow fighters with black belts aged 12 years and up to compete in the World Championships.
"If they're good enough to represent Australia, that's the sort of thing that leads to Olympic representation.
"It's a reminder for our kids, you can come from little old Lithgow and still be that good," he said.
Crane said he was really proud of the small team in Lithgow because over the years Haktari had developed a name of quality fighters.
"There's a lot of camaraderie in all our guys here, fitness is huge and being a good person is a massive part of training.
"These kids are so supportive of each other it's a real credit to them and their families," he said.
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