TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's taekwondo poomsae champions Yeh Peng (葉芃), Chiu Mu-en (邱沐恩), and Chang Chen-po (張宸帛) on Saturday (April 23) won gold in the under 30 category of the World Taekwondo Championships.
The trio were congratulated by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), per a CNA report. Rather than a regular taekwondo fight, a poomsae competition is where teams enact a systematic, prearranged sequence of martial arts techniques, more in the manner of a stage performance.
The competition is held once every two years. Taiwan hosted the event in 2018, when Taiwanese athletes took out three golds, eight silvers, and 12 bronzes, the biggest medal sweep by the national team in history.
In 2020, the martial arts performance competition was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year it was held in the South Korean city of Goyang.
“It’s amazing that we beat the South Korean team on their home turf,” said an ecstatic Chiu. He added the biggest obstacle during training was overcoming the three's differences in style.
“As a team, we had to relinquish some of our personal ways of doing things,” he said, “We spent a lot of time building rapport between ourselves and growing our shared understanding as a group.”
Yeh, who is 25 and the eldest of the three, said the team operates in a very democratic fashion: "We are just like good friends. If we encounter problems, we resolve them through communication.”
According to the competition website, the overall movements of the athletes must be closely timed and coordinated. Their actions should be synchronized as if they were robots rather than three unique persons.
Chiu said that the angle of movements, the timing of punches, and the height of kicks must all be timed to perfection in order to achieve that level of uniformity across the group.
"These are all very important factors,” he concluded.