Core Martial Arts and its 36-year-old instructor Clayton Simpson are punching above their weight, with three of the four students who qualified to represent the Ellenbrook-based school, winning gold medals at the Australian Taekwondo cadet team trials last week.
His students competed in the division restricted to ages 12-14, with the trials being held at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
Although the competition usually determines the team members who qualify to represent Australia at the World Championships, the Australian squad will not compete at the event scheduled to be held in Egypt later this year, due to safety concerns.
Fortunately winning students Katinka Penketh (12), Alex Terranova (14) and Lewis Nickles (14), will still get the opportunity to represent their country in several high level events and are likely to contest the Asian Presidents Cup in Uzbekistan in August, and the World Presidents Cup in Las Vegas in September.
The relatively small Core Martial Arts school, owned and run by Simpson and his family, has 150 students of all ages and has been operational for just three years yet remarkably it boasted Australia’s highest ratio (75 per cent) of entrants to gold medallists this year.
Only Cameron Schnell (14) missed out as he collected a silver medal for his age category.
Simpson and his wife Shelley both instruct and work at the martial arts business and live and breathe the sport.
Clayton Simpson is no stranger to success himself having won a silver medal at the Open World Championships in Birmingham UK, in 2007 and he has been coaching for 15 years.
“It’s my passion, I used to be part of a bigger club but decided to branch out on my own three years ago,” he said.
“It’s probably the best decision I’ve ever made to open the school, although not financially as I’m probably $35,000 out of pocket in expenses in regard to travelling with the kids to various events around Australia and the world.
“But we’re very lucky I have a close relationship with the kids and their parents who provide a wonderful support network.
“We do a bit of fund raising at the club, mainly to upgrade training facilities, but all their travel etc is fully self funded by the parents who are very supportive and understanding.
“I’ve coached Katinka since she was four, Alex from four, Lewis since he was 10 and Cameron since he was 11 and you couldn’t work with a better bunch of kids.”
The four entrants in the recently completely Australian Team cadet trials qualified from a competition squad that had 35 of Simpson’s students.
The school teaches classes from three years to retirees and the business and sport is clearly a family affair with Simpson’s young daughter having grown up at the school participating in training since before she turned two.
“She’s been at the school basically all her life and soon as she was out of nappies and toilet trained, she’s wanted to train and participate in what was happening there,” Simpson said.
By Andrew Carter