A pair of students from Premier Martial Arts made their tournament premiere recently at the school’s inaugural tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
Following four years of martial arts training, 13-year-old Lawson Cofer and 16-year-old Regan Morris put their skills to the test at the Premier Invitational, and both passed with flying colors in the form of four first-place trophies apiece.
Lawson notched first place in CMX Forms, CMX Weapons, Light Contact Sparring, and Overall in the 13-15 Advanced Division while Morris took home first-place titles in the 16-17 Advanced Division’s CMX Forms, CMX Weapons, Light Contact Sparring and Overall categories.
Making the achievement even more impressive is the fact the two won with routines they’d only practiced for three weeks leading into their first competition.
“It was very different than what we normally do,” said Morris, an advanced red belt who will begin training for her first-degree black belt today. “We both perform too; we both do demos and performances like that, but competing is a lot different.”
Once Cofer and Morris registered for the competition, they promptly got to work on their routines, putting in long hours in a martial arts crash course under instructor Donovan Jones.
Over the first two weeks, both would put in a couple of four-hour sessions after school, and with a break in the week ahead of the invitational, the sessions became daily.
“We didn’t have a lot of time, so it was like hours a day of coming in and going over it over, and over, and over again,” Morris said.
Both admitted to feeling some nerves heading into the tournament, not knowing what exactly to expect from a competition hosting Premier Martial Arts students from all over the country.
“This was the first Premier Martial Arts tournament where it is just this school from all over the nation, so we go the opportunity to go to that,” said Cofer, a brown belt. “We are kind of like the test dummies for the future.”
While Morris anticipated one large ring in the center of the venue with all eyes fixed on one competitor, she was relieved to discover multiple mats made up the arena, each with its own set of judges.
Obviously, that relief translated into standout performances for the young martial artists representing the rest of the 150 students of the Brunswick chapter of Premier.
“I was really proud of us,” Morris said. “We went out and performed, and I was impressed we pulled off what we did with as little amount of time we actually had to train for it.”
“It was the best we ever performed those combos,” Cofer added.