by Sean Wong
The reason why we practice Karate is because it provides us challenges to overcome in an effort to become better people. Competition is one way to challenge ourselves by measuring our efforts against others as well as our own past performances. Competing at the AAU Nationals challenged both myself as a coach and the athletes. I am proud to share that between July 7th and 9th, every member of Team Meibukan made it to the podium at the AAU Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 12 athletes ranging from 9 to 49 worked extremely hard to return with 13 medals. The results (in no particular order) are as follows:
- Bob Lindblom: Gold in Kata and Bronze in Kumite
- Ryan Koo: Silver in Kata
- Tiana Shetty: Bronze in Kumite
- Jayda Shetty: Bronze in Kumite
- Misuzu Tamaki: Silver in Kumite
- Rikizo Tamaki: Bronze in Kumite
- Shaelynn Dyson: Bronze in Kumite
- Shivon Dyson: Silver in Kumite
- Chandan Dhiman: Gold in Kumite
- Ethan Co: Bronze in Kumite
- Nolan Chong: Bronze in Kumite
- Michael Barrasso: Bronze in Kumite
With 2 Golds, 3 Silvers, and 8 Bronzes in our baker’s dozen, the medal count was less than last years. We know however that medal count is only one measure of success and also not the most important achievement for this young team. All team members are grateful for the opportunity to work hard and a chance to compete at such a high level. Competing among the nation’s best taught us about ourselves by fully exposing our weaknesses and contesting our strengths to new limits. An extremely valuable life lesson.
This year’s opportunity to compete at the 2016 AAU Nationals allowed athletes Chandan, Shaelynn, and Bob to achieve their personal best. Remarkably, plagued with injuries all year, Tiana pulled of a bronze as proof that one should never give up. Jayda, Ethan, Michael, and Shivon greatly improved their technique and speed. Newcomers Rikizo, Misuzu, and Nolan earned medals in their first year of high level competition. One of our biggest inspirations was another newcomer, Ryan, who made a brilliant comeback after loosing the first round but winning all other rounds to earn his silver.
Among injuries and conflicting schedules our Canadian dollar exchange rate has been a major obstacle to exposing our athletes to enough key high performance tournaments necessary to prepare them properly for the AAU Nationals. With an Olympic representation in mind, Team Meibukan’s goal is to continually challenge ourselves in dozens of arenas locally and throughout the world. We hope that you will help us and support our annual car wash and bbq on July 24th, 2016 to help raise funds to cover our travel expenses.
Our next event is the AAU Jr. Olympics in Houston, Texas on July 31st.
See you at the car wash!