When Mattias Hofmann prepared for his trip to the world tae kwon do championships he set his sights on a lofty goal of finishing in the top five in the world.
Considering the 12-year-old Rosslander had never competed on the world stage, it was an ambitious goal. But confidence, skill and a tenacious attitude won out for Hofmann as he captured a bronze medal in Coventry, England two weeks ago, narrowly missing gold in sparring.
Hofmann went through the single elimination sparring rounds and beat four world class martial artists—from the United Kingdom, Scotland, Russia and Irish—before getting into semifinals where he fought the eventual gold medal winner from Russia.
“I wanted to do well but I had no idea how I would do,” he said after he got back to Rossland.
Finishing third out of a field of 37 was a pretty big accomplishment for Hofmann. Hofmann has only trained for four years at the Trail Martial Arts studio under Jason Ayles and Mike Vroom, achieving a red stripe belt.
He wasn’t really nervous, although there were over 3,000 competitors at the world meet, and he focussed on what he knew he could do.
“He felt great, he was absolutely stoked coming out of it,” said his mother, Karen Lavender, who also accompanied Hofmann to the world championships.
For sparring Hofmann was sorted into a class according to weight, the colour of belt attained, and age. In patterns Hofmann finished in the top 15 out of 60 in his category.
Rossland’s James French also competed in the world championships for the first time but finished out of the medals.