Martial Arts Students Place High in Competition

February 14, 2015

St. Louis Post-Dispatch


After months of dedication to mental and physical training, students from Excel Martial Arts, in Warrenton, MO, found big rewards at two recent tournaments.


The first tournament, called “See It! Believe It! Achieve It!” was a regional championship competition sanctioned by the ATA.  Students traveled January 10, 2015, to Bloomington, IL to face contenders in many different categories of taekwondo forms, weaponry, and sparring.


Instructor Mrs. Amy Van Horn of Excel Martial Arts said, “We did really well.  We were competing out of our region against people we have never met and judges that do not know us.”  Cumulatively, the students brought home eleven 1st place medals, one 2nd place medal, and two 3rd place medals. 


While some of the Excel Martial Arts students are beginners, others have several years of experience.  Ryan Van Horn, a 2nd degree black belt, achieved a clean sweep of his ring and took first place in each of his seven events including:  Extreme Forms, Extreme Weapons, Creative Forms, Creative Weapons, Traditional Forms, Traditional Weapons, and Sparring. 


Ryan’s siblings also competed and came away with successful wins.  Faith Van Horn, also a 2nd degree black belt, placed third in Combat Weapons.  Tyler Van Horn, age 8, placed second in Sparring for the Color Belt 8 and under ring. 


The Pherigo family, of Wright City, are new competitors in the sport of taekwondo.  Marshall Pherigo, age 5, competed in the Tigers ring and won Best Black Belt Attitude for his enthusiastic demonstration of forms and one-steps.  His brother, Noah Pherigo, was awarded first place in both of his competitions, Traditional Forms and Sparring.  The boys’ father, Jonathan Pherigo, showed off his competitive spirit by winning first in Sparring and third in Traditional Forms in the adult ring. 


The second tournament took place in Kansas City, MO on February 7, 2015.  The tournament titled “Kansas City Throwdown – Round 3” was a Region 115 ATA sanctioned event.  Instructor Mr. Van Horn of Excel said, “I’m just so proud that our students from a small, rural town, can show up in these big cities and not only hold their own, but come home with all the top prizes.”


Each of the students competing successfully placed in an event.  Ryan Van Horn, competing in the 2nd and 3rd degree black belt ring for boys ages 9 to 10, placed 1st in Extreme Forms, Extreme Weapons, Creative Weapons, Traditional Weapons, and Sparring; and placed 2nd in Traditional Forms.  Noah Pherigo, competing in the white, orange, yellow belt ring for boys 8 and under, won 1st place in both Traditional Forms and Sparring.  His younger brother Marshall Pherigo, age 5, was awarded a Spirit Award in the Tigers division.  Mr. Jonathan Pherigo placed 2nd in the adult color belt weapons competition.


The students’ successes in a competitive scene, both in their own region and out, is a testament to their dedication and passion for the martial arts. 


Excel Martial Arts, which is a new instructional facility in the Warrenton Outlet Mall, offers classes for all ages and ability levels.  Participating in taekwondo is an excellent activity for not only athletic skills, but also mental focus and discipline.  Instructors Mr. Mark Van Horn and Mrs. Amy Van Horn are internationally certified instructors who are able to challenge students to see it—believe it—achieve it.


Those interested in learning more about the school are encouraged to visit the school's website at, like the facebook page, or call 314-833-9235.




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If you live in Warrenton, Turesdale, Pendleton, Innsbrook, Wright City, Jonesburg, Foristell, Hawk Point, Holstein, Hopewell, Pickney, Treloar, New Truxton, Truxton, Marthasville, High Hill, Cappeln, Prices Branch, Troy, Moscow Mills, Flint Hill, Wentzville, New Melle, Femme Osage, Old Alexandria, Dutzow, McKittrick, Hermann, Rhineland, Bridgeport, Case, Bellflower, New Florence, Gilmore, Josephville, Washington, Ethlyn, Lake St. Louis, Montgomery City, Danville, Mineola, or Wellsville, then you are close enough to train with us!

Tel: 314-833-9235
608A East Booneslick Rd, Warrenton, MO 63383 


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