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By Jubenal Blas


By Jubenal Blas

The Riverside Community College Karate team competed in the 35th International Karate-Do Tournament on Feb. 27 at Costa Mesa High School.

Over 600 competitors representing more than 20 countries and 25 states including France, England, Japan, Canada, United States, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Greece competed in the event.

Shito-Ryu was one of the major four styles of karate seen in the tournament The other three major styles were Shoto-Kon, Gojo-Ryu, and Wado-Ryu. There were also competitors using Tai Kwon Do.

The rules vary depending upon the ranking, level and division of the contestants. Black belts can use techniques unavailable to lower belts, such as kicks to the head and kicks to the front-center of the body. The tournament was divided into two sections: Kumite and Kata. In the Kata division the competitors are more focused on the movements, since Kata originated from dance practiced by martial artists. The movements must be accurate as a single mistake could lose the competition.

In the green belt competition two RCC students were victorious. For the Kata female division, Amber McIntyre took first place and Joanne Hua won second place, as well as third place in Kumite.

Carl Doan, another green belt, took first place in Kata male division and third place in Kumite.

RCC student Terri Hutt, a white belt, took third place in Kata. Brown belts Patrick Falconer, Prince Smith and Joey Abadilla competed in the kata team division, winning third place.

Three black belt instructors from RCC also competed and won several medals. Sempi Jim Namekata took third place in weapon Kata and Kumite. Sempi Kevin Suzuki won second place in Kata and Kumite.

“It was a great tournament. With an injury I did my best and had fun, ” said Sempi Suzuki. “Also it was great to see many former friends from other competitions and make new friends. Competing in an international tournament there are so many people from all over the world that there is no language barrier.”

Sempi Suzuki also helped to open the tournament with a demonstration of Karate aided by Sensei Fumio Demura.

Sempi Frank Almeida won third place in Kumite and without any disappointment lost the Kata division.

“The tournament was big. There were many competitors in both the junior and adult division. It was great to see the kids move and compete without fear.”

Sensei Demura was excited to see RCC students participating in the tournament.

“They did very well,” he said. “Thanks to them the tournament turned out to be successful. They were helping by judging, keeping time, scoring and translating. Without their help who knows what would have happened.”

However, there was little press covering the event.

“Those who practice Karate don’t care if they are recognized in the paper or other sort of media,” Demura said. “The people who practice Karate do it with passion. And it’s not Karate; it is Karate-do: the way of life, the way of the spirit.”

Demura further said that “Karate-do is thought to be violent.”

Some people think that Karate is a violent sport and that all they will get out of it is injuries.

“There are more injuries in other sports such as football and soccer than karate,” Sempi Lance said.

If you want to know more about Karate contact Sensei Dwight Lomayesva at (909) 222-8119. To join the club e-mail Jesus at RCCKarateClub@yahoo.com.

And remember, “Karate-do helps build character and reduces stress,” Lomayesva said.

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