One of the first steps to reaching heights in the martial art of hapkido is learning to fall.
Which explains why Vancouver teens Enzo LaFont and Aiden Bartocci have spent their summer learning to land correctly.
The two are preparing to represent the United States at the first Cheongju World Martial Arts Masterships, an Olympics-style martial arts festival to be held Sept. 2-8 in South Korea. LaFont and Bartocci are two of four members of the USA hapkido team.
Master Sung W. Lim of Vancouver’s King Tiger Martial Arts is a coach for the team. LaFont, 16, and Bartocci, 17, have trained under Lim for several years. Lim and Master C.Y. Lee of Wilsonville, Ore., were asked to form a USA team. Despite a national call for candidates, the four who are making the trip are students of the coaches.
“I’m not looking to conquer the world. I’m looking to send them out and make friends and expand their viewpoint,” Lim said. “They’ve lived in Vancouver all their lives, so getting to see that there is a whole world out there of very diverse people who have something in common.”