Kumite is a form of karate that is growing in popularity. Over the past weekend, primary school students from more than twenty schools converged in Belize City to participate in the first national karate championship. There was also a mixed martial arts tournament organized by the House of Shotokan Academy. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports on both.
Jose Sanchez, Reporting
The Belize Karate Federation held the first ever National Primary School Karate Championship on Sunday, March eighteenth at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium. According to the president, fifty-two students from twenty-two primary schools participated in the event.
Via Phone: Herman Pastor Jr., President, B.K.F.
Herman Pastor Jr.
“We had katas and kumite competition. As you know kata is form where the athletes show their skills—a combination of kata techniques. And then you have the fighting part of it—we refer to it as kumite. We had categories from five year olds to fourteen years old and we had a very successful championship—very interesting.”
“As the first national in this event, how successful was it? it is something that is sustainable? What ways can you improve for the future?”
Via Phone: Herman Pastor Jr.
“The tournament successful as being the first, but in the future we would like probably the association of the primary schools and the national sports council and we would like to do it in conjunction with these organizations so that we have full support from the primary schools instead of only support from members of the federation.”
Kumite, which had eleven categories, is one part of the event that pleased the crowd. In the male Thirty kilogram category, Vincent Hulse of St. Andrew’s Anglican School and Antoine Bradley of All Saints Primary School squared off. Bradley gave a good and loud performance. But Hulse bettered him on the kicks.
And the grimace after this solid kick to the back would signal Hulse’s road to gold against his next opponent Aren Silva of Sacret Heart Primary who received Silver.
The male thirty-five kilogram kumite saw Gabriel Lisbey of Holy Redeemer and Alston Guiterrez of Grace Primary battle for Gold and Silver. Lisbey of Holy Redeemer would take the gold.
In the male kumite forty kilogram category. Brandon Sutherland of Wesley Upper and Ahmad Spence of Grace Primary met on the mat. Sutherland had a reach advantage that spent Spence. But Spence would then face Kael Wagner of Holy Redeemer. Wagner also had a height and reach advantage that was felt. Brandon Sutherland would receive Gold, Wagner Silver and Spence Bronze.
The day before the national event, the House of Shotokan also rocked the Belize Elementary Auditorium. Their matches lasted for three minutes. One minute ring time and back out again.
Shihan Ray Kelly, Grandmaster, House of Shotokan
“On Saturday, we had our mixed martial arts karate tournament here in Belize along with taekwondo tournament and also a karate—all three event into one this Saturday at the Belize Elementary Gymnasium. The highlight of each was that in the karate side of it, we had divisions ranging from three years old all the way up to adults making points. At the end they all got recognized for the first place, second place, third place win. On the taekwondo, we had invited guests from Mexico; they came in with the delegation and they were able to demonstration for the country of Belize what taekwondo was all about. So the audience had a chance to see taekwondo fighting which differs from the karate fighting. Also Mexico brought a mixed martial arts team with them of six persons. they were able to fight against Belizean mixed martial artists which is our lead team from the House of Shotokan karate and from Sensei Salam in Dangriga, he brought down a mixed martial arts team as well as karate fighters too; the international tournament that was held. Now we have Sensei Salam out of our Southern Shotokan Academy in there in Dangriga. He has a group that came down and that group did an outstanding job fighting at the lightweight category, the featherweight category and then our Belizean House of Shotokan Elite Team mixed martial art fighters did a fantastic job. We had tap outs, submission holds, we had some serious takedowns, we had some contacts which brings reality of what martial arts, when a no holds barred event is held; how fun and exciting it can be for these athletes.”
A team is preparing to go to Guatemala for another event on April second. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.
Belize Karate Federation is having team tryouts on Saturday from nine am to two o’clock pm at the CSKC dojo in San Ignacio. The training is in preparation for the Central American and Caribbean Karate Championship.