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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : sports : local April 29, 2016

1/28/2014 2:09:00 PM
KC'S shines at state championships
Members of the KCís competition team poses with the numerous trophies they have won during 2013. Photo courtesy of KCíS Family Tae Kwon Do
Members of the KCís competition team poses with the numerous trophies they have won during 2013. Photo courtesy of KCíS Family Tae Kwon Do
Karen Conover
KC's Family Tae Kwon Do

For martial arts instructor and school owner Karen Conover, of KC's Family Tae Kwon Do, the past 30 days has been a monumental whirlwind.  

From earning her fourth degree black belt and gaining the title of Master Conover, to leading her school's team to the state championships, she continues to serve her students by living the "lead by example" philosophy that is such a large part of KC's. With the advancement to fourth degree black belt and title of master, Conover joins an exclusive club of female martial arts masters.

On Dec. 21, over 100 of KC's family and friends from the Verde Valley traveled to Mesa to see the final on-stage ceremony in Conover's multi-day black belt test, held in conjunction with Arizona's Best Karate. In her speech Conover noted the work in getting to fourth degree black belt, "was much like a PhD program, with the sheer amount of dedicated study and intense practice that I've been doing for the last six months to prepare for the test."  

The pinnacle of her message in the speech was that "mastery comes when you can balance all of the facets of your life," as she referred to being a mom, daughter, sister, student, teacher, businesswoman and friend. Master Conover's son, Christopher, also earned his second degree black belt that day.  

Less than a month later she showed that she lives by her words as Master Conover became a four-time state champion and mentored her own children, and nearly two dozen others, to victory at the AZ Elite Sport Karate Association's (AZESKA) State Grand Championship Tournament on Jan. 18 in Chandler. 

This was an end-of-season invitational tournament for the best of the best within the circuit. Only the top-8 competitors ranked over the course of the competition year were eligible to compete and only in their ranked divisions.

KC's had 30 students qualify to compete and brought 23 to attend the championships. The results were incredible and 2013 became the most successful competition year for KC's since it opened in 2006. Of the 23, 16 students were named AZESKA Point Champions in 31 divisions. This means that the 16 students earned the most qualifying points through the season, more than any other competitor.

A student receives points every time they compete and place. And more importantly, 17 KC's students won the title of AZESKA state grand champion in 27 Divisions. This means that a student had enough points to qualify them in the top-8 for state and they attended, and won, at the championship tournament.

Another success to note is that the KC's Competition Team ended with a perfect season. This is a team of 14 students who train regularly to represent the school at every tournament. Every member became a 2013 Arizona state grand champion. That is a 100 percent championship success rate.  

"To clarify, the team did have one member miss the Championships due to a family funeral, but she would've won handily on Saturday," said master Conover. Conover went on to say that her 15-year old daughter, second degree black belt and fellow instructor, Kirsten Conover, had a lot to do with that success as she is the main coach for the competition team.

Not all students from KC's Family Tae Kwon Do who compete are members of the full-time competition team. But it is clear that through the leadership of master Conover, and by the overall results, students from the school are getting a quality martial arts education that prepares them not only for high level competition, but as leaders in their everyday world.

Taylor Waste

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