Flying Side Kick tourney highlights martial arts

TOP PERFORMER: Joey Poblete, 5, demonstrates the form that won him the gold medal in the U6 division during the 8th annual Master Noly's Flying Side Kick Tournament held Sunday at the Micronesia Mall in Dededo. Contributed photo

The kihap rang through the Micronesia Mall as more than 175 martial artists packed center court Sunday for the 8th Annual Master Noly’s Flying Side Kick tournament.

A sea of gi-clad students prepped, stretched and jumped in anticipation of their shot as the crowd, several people deep, enjoyed the demonstration.

The Flying Side Kick tournament was held in conjunction with Master Noly Caluag, chief instructor of Guam Taekwondo Center, honoring his 40th year as a Taekwondo black belt. His do-jang also celebrated its 17 years this month.

A martial arts exhibition, led by Caluag's son Jed kicked off the day. The Guam Taekwondo Center black-belt demonstration team impressed the crowd with its adherence to the discipline's teachings.

The younger Caluag wowed mallgoers with a stunning display of a 540 triple spinning kick and blasting wooden boards to mere toothpicks.

Jed Caluag, who is a collegiate gold medalist, demonstrated his mastery of the bo staff weapon, shattering double boards with a knife hands strike. Demonstrating his agility and strength, the younger Caluag rocked the audience, demolishing multiple boards with seven continuous spinning roundhouse kicks.

The audience got another treat as Ryan Gaza executed his expertise with the nunchuck weapon during an impressive slick routine, breaking numerous boards with a jumping front, split and scissors kick. Micah Edusma flew through three hoops, demonstrating his length and height in the flying side kick.

Martial artist Charisse Palaganas destroyed two boards with a simultaneous jumping sidekick and hand punch routine. Lord Mabalot pulled a scene from the movies, flying over seven people to crush boards with a flying side kick.

Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio formally opened the competition, which fielded 108 participants, some as young as 4 years old taking the mat. Alexi Galvez, 5, grabbed first for the girls, while 5-year-old Joey Poblete dominated the boys. Hailey Pinaula became the youngest medalist at age 4 with a bronze medal to her name.

The Lopez brothers – Nathaniel and Matthew – bagged double gold in their respective divisions. Palaganas claimed bragging rights to the women’s seniors division by taking her first gold medal in this event.

Jed Caluag, outperformed 10 other competitors, leaping over an obstacle of nine foam shields to take the gold medal in the seniors division. The U.S. Taekwondo Eastern Collegiate All-Star member and former team captain of Boston University Taekwondo team claimed his fifth gold medal in this event since 2012.

Winners' list

• Gold medalists: Alexi Galvez, Joey Poblete, JJ Chen, Sydney Mantanona, Sofia Danan, Lyra Mugol, Reggie DeGuzman, Matthew Lopez, Nathaniel Lopez, Charisse Palaganas and Jed Caluag

• Silver: Samantha Wong, Thomas Zhu, Noah Rosadino, Summer Pinaula, Rouvie Carandang, Alessandra Leon Guerrero, Ito Rabanal, Davian Duenas, Carl Basto, Adriana Sabinay and Jaden Estrellado

• Bronze: Haley Pinaula, Aaliyah Perez, David Long, Tyler Wang, Derrick Yan, Joshua Cho, Hailey Diaz, Sophia Valencia, Carris Carrera, Isabella Poblete, Alexis Cruz, Giana Florendo, David Sin, Ethan Sabinay, Angelo Armas, Elijah DelaRosa, Paul Webb, Alex Foreman, Ysabella Legason, Roe Manalac, Ryan Gaza and Micah Edusma.

Information was provided in a press release.