Karate kids take on tournamentsPublished 8:28pm Thursday, April 25, 2013
The next generation of Washington Karate Academy students have hit the tournament circuit to test their martial art skills for the first time.
April Kidwell, Sydney Chrismon and Patrick and Lilley Tyler showed off their sparring and kata (forms) at the 14th annual East Carolina University Open Martial Arts Tournament in Greenville last Saturday.
According to their instructor, David Warren, the kids made an impressive showing: in the 10- to 11-year-old boys/girls beginners division, Sydney took second place in sparring and third in kata and April took first in sparring and second in kata in the same division. The Tyler twins, in the 8- to 9-year-old boys/girls beginners division, both placed as well: Patrick with sparring and kata third place wins and Lilley with second place in sparring and finishing fourth in kata.
Warren teaches Shorin Goju Ryu, a style of karate known for its speed, defensive techniques and number of katas. He’s passing down the traditions he’s learned from his own teachers — a direct lineage he can trace from himself to the style’s origin centuries ago. Competing in tournaments is a requirement for his students.
“You have to reach a certain beginner level of proficiency before you go to tournament,” Warren said. “I don’t know about other teachers, but I require students to have a kind of graduating experience as they move from white belt to black belt … Having trophies is like having a resume.”
When April Kidwell competed for the first time last month at Kinston’s March Madness tournament, Warren took the other kids along to give them a sneak preview of what the competitions are all about.
“I took the kids to watch their other classmate compete so they could support her and see what it’s like — to get that visual,” Warren explained. “They were very excited for her.”
While Warren teaches his students the finer points of sparring, his own traditional karate background means they’re learning much more, primarily respect for what came before. In his classes, commands, questions and answers are spoken in Japanese.
“Speaking another language isn’t going to save your life, what you’re doing is honoring the Japanese tradition, showing respect for the tradition,” Warren said. “You’re learning history — you’re not just a fighter, you’re an educated person.”
Washington Karate Academy is located at 3605 U.S. Highway 264 East, Washington. For more information, call 252-975-1011.