CRESTVIEW — When the nation’s top taekwondo and hapkido masters gather in Crestview each year for the annual Korean Martial Arts Festival, one Bonifay man is usually included in that prestigious group — Bonifay Taekwondo master instructor Wesley Wing.
Wing was one of several master-level instructors invited to teach at the Korean Martial Arts Festival in Crestview on April 20, an event he has been invited to teach at for several years.
The weekend-long annual event featured 21 master-level instructors from across the world who conducted seminars at Gordon Martial Arts in Crestview.
Thomas Gordon, owner of Gordon Martial Arts, is also a Crestview City Council member.
"As one of the best kickers I've ever come across, Master Wing normally teaches a kicking seminar at the Korean Martial Art Festival where people come from Canada, Australia, England, and all over the USA,” said Gordon.
“For about five years, my buddy and fellow martial artist, Gregory Bledsoe and I drove 130ish miles once a week to train with Master Wing. Sometimes communities are unaware of a jewel they have teaching in their area."
The Korean Martial Art Festival is hosted at Gordon Martial Arts and was ranked by Black Belt Magazine as one of the “10 Most Do Martial Art Events” and brings people from all over the world.
Two martial arts students said recent seminars helped them improve their technique and inspired continued education in combat practices.
"The more I attend these conferences or festivals, the more I thirst for knowledge," said Crestview resident Dr. Alberto Barbon. Learning about various techniques, including forms, sparring and weapons training, reminded him “you can always improve on what you’re doing,” he said.
Crestview resident Angela Mobley agreed. She began practicing martial arts nine months ago following her children’s participation in the program.
"It's something we can do together, it’s exercise, it’s learning something new," she said.
Halifax Media’s Matthew Brown contributed to this report.