Martial Arts Tourney highlights local, regional talent

Matthew Neronsky during his tae kwon do kata, a series of powerful shifts and lunges, skilled swings of kama blades. He ranked 1st and 2nd place in two demonstrations. Photos by Layla Burke Hastings

By Layla Burke Hastings
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The 17th annual Vermont Classic Tournament, held Saturday at Green Mountain Union High School, showcased the power of surprise, with a cross-competition open to any of style martial art, age and skill level.

The cross-competitions of any style of martial arts, with karate and shaolin spars gave the distinct flavor that it’s any person’s game, with teams of regional, national and global champions competing simultaneously in eight rings at the GM gym.

Matthew Neronsky of Chester secured a first- and second-place ranking in two tae kwon do solo drills in 18-34 men’s division in Saturday’s competition.

Neronsky, a master instructor at Alexander’s Martial Arts Center  in based in Londonderry and a 10th level black belt, took first place in 18-34 men’s solo weapons division using his small silver kama blades in a series of defensive maneuvers.

Huzon Alexander, owner and chief instructor at Alexander’s Martial Arts Center, saw two more of his students graduate another step from student to master. Despite stiff competition from six other national black belts, his students eluded the competitors.

The hand jockeying and power vaults of five bo — or staff — competitors and one demanding bid from a medium-size three-pronged sai dagger opponent were taken off guard by his point of strategy.
The small silver pair of kama blades he jockeyed and in kata defense further amplified a disarming yet powerful display.

Neronsky took top score in a series of 10-point rankings from the judges.

Samuel Diaz of Connecticut wields a set of kobudo oars to take the top score during a demonstration of shotukan karate based kata defensive moves.

Chester resident Baili Carey, at 16 a fourth-level black belt who also teaches at Alexander’s, did dual duty  as judge and competitor. She ranked third in the women’s 15-17 sparring division.

Her experience mirrors what so many competitors gave as the reason why they are grounded in the sport: family, friendship, honor and respect for every competitor she is in contact with.

At the age of 8, both her and her brother Chad Carey got involved in tae kwon do and their mother Olga an emergency room nurse at Springfield Hospital, jumped feet first. On Saturday, Olga Carey, who was acting as the onsite first responder and assisted Alexander’s, said she  loves the way martial arts has become another bond with her children.

“Today was a good day. The only thing I had to do was apply a Band-Aid,” she said.

With eight years of study, Baili is evolving from student to master. Like so many students, Baili said tae kwon do is a guiding art. From her first spar, she said she noticed she grew over the pain, not only in sparring but in everyday life.

“I have A.D.H.D. (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) so it has always been kind of hard for me to concentrate especially in school,” she said. “Tae kwon do has definitely shown me how to stay focused and get past my struggles, no matter — what keep calm.”


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