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Freeland martial arts studio holds first competition
Young martial artists had their first competitive showing Saturday at the Tiger Martial Arts studio in Freeland.
The pint-sized athletes demonstrated Kata (forms) and Kumite, which are two person pre-arranged sparring drills.
This was our first tournament, but we plan on making it an annual event, said Sensei Wendi Barker.
We only had it for the grades 1-5 classes and will expand it to other ages next year, she said.
Twenty competitors registered in seven divisions of competition. Seven students walked away proudly with bragging rights and a trophy, she said.
Each student presented their Kata to a board of three judges and the audience. So many people came to watch that there was standing room only.
The confidence these 5 to 10 year olds showed was inspiring, Barker said. All of the students are winners for their confidence and sportsmanship and received a medal for it, she said.
First-place winners received 14-inch trophies.
It was a great experience for the young martial artists and for many it was their first time showing their sport in front of a large audience. The hardest part for many was waiting their turn.
I was really nervous, but it was fun and now I am really proud of myself, said Jesse Smith, 6. He won first place in kumite with Connor Ryan, and won first place in grades 1-2 boys beginner kata.
Connor Ryan, 6, said, It was a lot more fun than just getting a trophy it was great.
The judging was done by an experienced panel.
We had a friend, John Page, from back east (Massachusetts) who is a soon to be Sandan, a third degree black belt, visiting. He is the tournament coordinator for the International Uechi Ryu Karate Federation and was one of the judges for the event, Barker said.
What a tremendous event. It was so well organized and conducted that I never would have known it was TMAs first tournament, Page said.