Belizean karatekas battled it out in some hot action when the House of Shotokan Karate hosted its first international martial arts championship at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium on Saturday, October 22.
Juan Adalberto Altamirano Olarte of the Eagle Park Tae-kwon-do dojo of Chetumal, Quintana Roo emerged as the overall winner in the male mixed martial arts kumite. Altamirano had triumphed first 4-3 against Santiago Velasquez of Eagle park in the first round and he eliminated Joel Meyer of the House of Shotokan 2-1 in the second round. Meyer had advanced out of the first round by a 3-2 victory over Roberto Gonzalez in the first round.
Luis Felipe Escamilla had also advanced out of the first round by a 5-1 beat-down of Alvin Gonzalez. Altamirano triumphed over 2-1 Escamilla in the final for first place and Escamilla had to be content with second place. Joel Meyer took third.
Carolina Barrera of the Eagle Park dojo won the women’s kumite against her younger sister Carolina Barrera.
The kumite competition also featured a number of exhibition bouts between Belizean black belt karateka Fernando Salam and Mexican kick boxer Uri Gamino Villa. While initially Salam attempted to spar with Gamino in the kick-boxing style, he switched to karate style and landed several hand strikes to the face to win the match.
Judo-ka Eddermys Sanchez next challenged Joel Meyer in a mixed martial arts bout, and soon had Meyer pinned to the mat to win that encounter.
Sanchez next challenged Fernando Salam, and succeeded in pinning Salam to the mat on his first try, but Salam was able to break the hold and then pin Sanchez from behind. Sanchez tried twice more, but each time Salam succeeded in getting the pin to win the bout.
Manuel Ang Valderas of the Eagle Park Dojo won the final kumite of the day against his teammate Carlos Escobar in tae-kwon-do style.
The Kumites were preceeded by Kata demonstrations of form by karatekas of the House of Shotokan, fearturing several age categories from 8-year-olds to teenagers and adults, as well as weapons kata. demonstrations.
The one fly in the ointment was a press release sent out by Herman Pastor, President of the Belize Karate Federation last Friday, October 21. The BKF release noted that . the House of Shotokan’s tournament was not sanctioned by the BKF, because the House of Shotokan is not a recognized member of the federation. The BKF release said the Belize Karate Federation is the national body which governs the sport of karate in Belize, and is recognized by the Belize National Sports Council, the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, and the World Karate Federation (WKF).
The BKF said its mission is to create world class karate athletes through promoting, organizing and popularizing the sport of karate while fostering friendly relations among karate clubs and associations nationally and Internationally in a technically safe and controlled environment.
The BKF release concluded by inviting all karate clubs to register with the Belize Karate Federation, citing benefits such as technical assistance, referee training and certification, coach training and certification, national team training and selection, and certification of clubs. The Reporter