Redwood Falls Taekwondo saw two of its members compete in the Diamond Nationals 40th anniversary karate tournament.

Brad Hoecke and Will Buffie traveled to the metro area to compete in the tournament which was held Oct. 6-7 at the Doubletree Hotel. The Diamond Nationals tournament is an international contest and is a NASKA 6A rated event. The North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) competition attracts competitors from all across the globe because of its distinction as a high quality, ranked event.

Buffie and Hoecke, who both train with Rich Seavert, head instructor of the local Taekwondo gym, participated at the competition.

NASKA is primarily a karate tournament which uses a different form and discipline than Taekwondo; karate’s full contact point sparring, however, originated in North America and uses a format very similar to Taekwondo.

Brad Hoecke received his black belt in May. He trained many years ago in karate and started training in Taekwondo about five-and-a-half years ago which contributed to his interest in the Diamond Nationals. 

Will Buffie began training with the team at the beginning of 2017 and started working with Hoecke while developing in his training. They both decided to attend the tournament.

Hoecke placed second in his category for traditional forms and took third in sparring.

Buffie, who possesses an orange belt, took first place in the lightweight division sparring category. Rich Seavert has been working with martial artists in the area since the early 1980s and notes that

there is a good deal of local talent.

“We have at least 15 black belts that I can think of off the top of my head,” he said. “They include people from all walks of life and are pretty much an even ratio of men to women.”

To do so well is a high achievement and Seavert remarked it’s a good step along a longer path.

“Training is a lifelong endeavor…you always get out of Taekwondo what you put into it,” said Seavert whose team works with all ages from as young as seven to beyond 60 years old. “You’re never too old to start.”

Seavert encourages people to look into participation and notes it is a great bonding experience for family members in addition to being an option for self-defense or physical fitness.

“It’s like a family here; we have lots of fun,” Seavert said.

Buffie added, “Taekwondo is awesome. We’d love to see more people join.”

The local gym normally has between a dozen and 35 people working at a time, depending on the time of year. It hosts summer community education classes and puts on its own event in March, which is a traditional Taekwondo tournament.

Redwood Falls Taekwondo is one member of a network in southern Minnesota that includes eight different gyms. They combine for testing and different events from time to time. Redwood Falls Taekwondo meets at Functional Fitness every Monday and Thursday evening, and the program runs year-round. The public is invited to visit and begin participating with no obligation if they are interested.

More information can be located on its Facebook page at