Local youth wins tournament


By Joyce St. George
Ivan Herrera is a 10 year old who, along with his family, lost everything in the flood of 2011. Everything, that is, except his spirit. And on October 22, at the Diamond Classic Martial Arts Tournament, Ivan used that spirit to sweep through the tournament and win every trophy and medal in his class.

Ivan is one of two students of the Pak’s Karate School of Margaretville who competed in the tournament, held at Herkimer Community College on October 22, 2012. The other student, Robin Williams, a supervisor at the Arkville ARC, also won a trophy and top awards in her martial arts class.

Terry Bergmann, a master in the martial art of Tang Soo Do and head of the Margaretville karate school, coached the students toward their achievements. “I couldn’t be more proud,” Bergmann said. “Both Ivan and Robin worked hard to prepare for such an important competition, and their hard work paid off.” Bergmann attended the tournament, along with Joyce St George, one of the school’s black belts, and Dennis Herrera, Ivan’s father and also a student at the karate school.

The tournament, hosted by Bailey’s Karate Schools in Herkimer, is one of the most popular martial arts competitions in the region, with hundreds of individuals competing in both sparring and katas, or open martial arts forms. It was Ivan Herrera’s first time competing in martial arts. The fourth-grader performed a kata form three grades higher than his class, and outperformed more than 12 other contestants. Ivan then sparred against six other youngsters, all of whom were bigger and taller than him, winning every contest.

Robin Williams, who gave birth to her second child three months ago, has competed and won on behalf of the Margaretville karate school in other tournaments. This time, Robin won a trophy for sparring, and a gold medal for performing open martial arts forms.

Pak’s Karate School of Margaretville has been teaching Tang Soo Do to members of the community for more than five years. It meets at the Margaretville Fire Department on Tuesdays and Fridays at 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., and welcomes all ages and experience. For more information call 586-6064.