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By GARY STALLARD/The Lufkin Daily News

Tournament organizers billed it as “Master J.D. Olford’s Battle in the Pines,” a fitting sobriquet for such an intense — but well-performed — event.

The American Taekwondo Association’s regional tournament concluded on Saturday at Shands Gymnasium on the Angelina College campus, with more than 800 participants displaying their moves, kicks and weapons of choice in the two-day tourney. Students from ages 4 through 60, all sporting different “belt” levels, competed in such events as sparring, creative forms and creative weapons.

The participants hailed from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Master Instructor J.D. Olford, who served as the regional host, said the tournament’s location was a big part of its success in a sport that continues to spread across the United States.

“When you see so many young kids and females participating, you can see how much the sport is growing and spreading across the country,” Olford said. “And the people involved were very excited to have the tournament here in Lufkin. This is a perfect facility for this, and everyone has said great things about both the tournament itself and the location.”

Tournament administrators said event results will be posted online at ataonline.com and at olfordsata.com.