The Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, hosted this year’s Taekwondo State Championships. It was here that newcomer, Vincent Stiles, earned his gold medal in forms and bronze medal in sparring.
Vincent is new to this Olympic style taekwondo, beginning only in the summer of 2012, with the more traditional style. He quickly decided to progress to the more competitive "team Olympic style" taekwondo. Before proceeding on to the highly recognized Texas State Taekwondo Championship level, Vincent had only competed in one other tournament, where he proved successful by earning a gold medal in sparring and a bronze medal in forms.
A big part of Vincent’s success comes from his coach, Master Michael Grant. Master Grant has been teaching for over 15 years, and is a fourth degree Master. His love of the sport is apparent in each day’s lesson. He has an amazing amount of knowledge and patience, which he shares daily, all while keeping the workouts fun for the kids. Master Grant has the uncanny ability to read his students and figure out how they can excel by enhancing their individual strengths, and also work on strengthening their weaknesses. Stiles’ parents have found this to be true because we know that Vincent is not a mean or aggressive kid at all. And Master Grant does not force his kids to learn that way, either. He teaches to the individual. Master Grant found that one of Vincent’s gifts is patience. He is a patient fighter, who looks for the opportunity to use the skills that Master Grant has taught him to his full potential.
Vincent has worked very hard to achieve the success he has. "Team Olympic style" taekwondo requires a big commitment. He practices four times a week, and enjoys every practice too, which is evident on his smiling face. Master Grant’s classes have taught Vincent perseverance, self-control, integrity, respect, dedication and patience. All of which have obviously paid off in Vincent’s short experience in the taekwondo sport and the tournaments he has competed in. Master Grant and taekwondo have also built Vincent’s confidence so much so that he does not succumb to peer-pressure or bullying. If he doesn’t like the way kids are playing, he will walk away and do something else. He doesn’t feel he has to play with them in order to feel accepted, his mom said.
The Texas State Taekwondo Championship brings with it some pretty tough competitors. Athletes from all over Texas join together and compete in hopes of qualifying for Nationals. Vincent’s Gold and bronze medals at Texas State are a huge win. The National Taekwondo Championships will be held in Chicago, Ill. later this summer.