Archive for Thursday, January 7, 2010

What a kick: Basehor father-son duo are world champs

January 7, 2010

Mike Guthrie and his son Michael feel blessed to be world champions.

The pair will never forget the November trip to Ireland that culminated with them winning three gold medals at the World Kickboxing Championships in Dublin.

Mike won the gold medal in Veteran Men +35 Years Creative Weapons and won the bronze medal in Adult Men Extreme Forms. Michael won the Junior Boys Musical Weapons and the Junior Boys Extreme Forms categories.

For Mike Guthrie, the pride he saw in watching his son receive the medals was indescribable.

“To watch my son compete and to be able to compete with my son was so amazing,” Mike said. “He had some stiff competition in his divisions. He just tore it up in finals.”

The format for this type of kickboxing competition is similar to judging in a sport like gymnastics where opponents perform a routine and then are judged on things like showmanship, posture and technique.

Michael spent the hours before his competition tweaking the ending of his routine.

When the size of the hotel room wouldn’t accommodate his routine, he practiced on the bed.

The work paid off.

During the competition, Michael hit the final move in his routine en route to a gold medal.

He was cheered on by the American contingency in attendance that included 70 teammates in what Mike compared to an Olympic-like experience.

The experience was focused around the team. Whereas people typically leave after they are finished at most competitions, at the World Championships people stood and cheered for their teammates.

Michael said competing against athletes who spoke different languages made it more difficult to pick up strategies.

“It is just stiff competition,” Michael said. “I am used to the normal karate circuit where you go on YouTube and watch your competitors’ competitions. This tournament I really didn’t know what to expect.”

Outside of the competition, the experience left lasting memories.

“There was not one country there that didn’t get along with the others; it was a huge family,” Mike said.

The World Championships are the culmination of years of hard work. Mike has been teaching his son since he was three years old. He is a fifth-degree black belt at the second level of mastership. Michael is a third degree black belt.

Mike runs White Tiger Tae Kwon Do in Basehor that has 50 to 60 students enrolled.

The father and son duo have competed in numerous national competitions, and were approached by a coach from Team USA to compete in the international competition. Typically, athletes have to qualify for the World Championships, but the Guthries were selected for their track record in the sport.

After being selected, they raised money for the trip through donations from a variety of sponsors.

Among the donors were NCI Consulting, Eager Family Ministries, Humboldt Christian Church, Corber Family Ministries, Razorback Railways, DeFoe Industries, Tuckers Inc. and Performance Active Wear.

The Guthries thanked the people who donated money for their generosity to make a dream come true for the family. As a way of giving back, they did some mission work while in Ireland.

Throughout the competition and trip, Mike said he kept thinking how lucky he was to be competing.

“I was just thanking God I got to do that with my son,” he said. “Just to be able to do it with my son and for the United States was pretty awesome. The whole trip is a blessing from God. He is the one who sent us there. On top of that, to walk away with a world title — it is a tremendous blessing.”

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