Springing Into Action With Kagami Baraki

When we first began our sport karate team just a few years ago, there were only 5 competitors. Now there are almost 20 athletes ranging from 7 to over 50 years old. Our competitive season officially begins in January and ends in August with a few practice events in the fall. These events are all over southern Ontario, northern New York state, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This becomes a challenge logistically and financially for families who wish to provide the best available opportunities for their child.

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Logistics are taken care of by all the parents who volunteer their time for fundraising, carpooling, feeding, and organizing all of the important details. Throughout the year, we have 3 fundraisers to help with travel expenses. In November there is an annual amateur karate tournament. Our athletes have a show and a banquet (Kagami Biraki) every April. Finally, every August, we raise additional funds with our annual car wash.

_DSC8116 On April 8th, 2018, our athletes showed off their skills in front of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and friends. In total, over 150 people joined in an afternoon of good fun and family entertainment. Athletes performed both traditional and competitive curriculum like superstars. Thanks to all of our donors like Dr. Kevin Brown and Associates at mydentalhome.com and RMT Rashpal Sahota who helped to raise some extra valuable funds through our raffle ticket sales.

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What it Means To Be On a Team

by Tiago Peisz

To be on a team means trusting everyone on the team without a doubt. Even if you have not seen them for a while you never forget the trust you once built. It also means that you never break the trust and friendship no matter how long you were apart or separated. Just like when I was separated from my team for a couple of months. Every time I practiced or even thought about karate, I would remember all the great people and the great times we had together. That is why I went to the competition in Albany, New York [on March 3rd, 2018]. Even though I was practicing privately, I hadn’t practiced at the dojo and with a team in months. I really missed the team aspect of the sport.

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Despite the fact that I lost the one match I competed in, it was a great experience. It was very rewarding watching the people on my team win so many medals and do their personal best. I also learned that there was a lot I could improve on. My teammates had clearly been practicing a lot together and it showed. The last time I competed I had practiced just as much and I noticed a difference. So the lesson this experience taught me is that hard work really does pay off and that there is no substitute for a solid team. So in the end I do not consider it a loss at all but rather a valuable learning experience in the company of some good people.

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Coach’s Side Note:
At just 11 years old, Tiago has been with NOX Dojo what seems like forever. It was a sad day for all of us when we discovered that he was moving away. As a part of our sport karate team, he truly came into his own in the 2017 season where he made podium in both the AAU Nationals and Jr. Olympics. Mom and Dad are extremely supportive which clearly contributes to his success. When we heard that he truly wanted to make the effort for Albany, the team embraced the opportunity. Sporting gorgeous red hair, he sets the mat on fire when he competes in kumite. Never one to shy away from a challenge, his fearless spirit inspires us. Keep up the great work Tiago and we hope to see you more often.

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2018 AAU Albany Championship Report

Getting  to Albany in the middle of a snow storm was by itself a challenge. Weathering the blizzard slowed our trek but everyone made the 8 – 10 hour drive from Markham without injury.

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This is our 3rd event to Albany and it is starting to see its young athletes grow into superstars. The March 3rd, 2018 event was more streamlined to cater to season or serious athletes. Team Meibukan had more competitors this year with 15 athletes including 3 adults. As this is our first international event of the year, our team was understandably nervous.

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This year, our season includes more events that allow us to better prepare for qualifiers like Albany. The strategy paid off and our team returned with a total podium achievement. Results are as follows:

  1. Joanne Tran: Gold (Kata), Silver (Kobudo), Silver (Team Kata)
  2. Lara Kwaipun: Gold (Kata), Gold (Kobudo)
  3. Daniel Kwaipun: Gold (Kata), Silver (Kumite)
  4. Brenna Lin: Bronze (Kumite)
  5. Tyler Lin: Bronze (Kata)
  6. Kai Lin: Gold (Kobudo), Bronze (Kumite)
  7. Cassidy Truong: Gold (Kata), Gold (Kobudo), Silver (Team Kata)
  8. Cadence Truong: Gold (Kata), Gold (Kobudo), Gold (Kumite), Silver (Team Kata)
  9. Kayla Jackson: Gold (Kata), Gold (Kobudo), Gold (Kumite)
  10. Ryan Koo: Silver (Kata), Bronze (Kumite), Bronze (Team Kata)
  11. Koa Yamashita: Bronze (Kata)
  12. Kaz Yamashita: Gold (Kata)
  13. Stan Yamashita: Bronze (Kata)
  14. Erica Chin: Gold (Kata), Gold (Kobudo)
  15. Zachary Chin: Gold (Kata), Gold (Kobudo), Bronze (Team Kata)

We were blessed also with a guest from last year’s team who joined us for fun. Tiago Peisz also returned wearing a bronze.

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A Winning Start

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Team Meibukan began its 2018 season with a big bang. On February 17th, 14 athletes ventured to London, Ontario to partake in the Matsumura Cup among a field of almost 250 contestants from all over southern Ontario. Overcoming nerves, injuries, illnesses, traffic, equipment issues, we put on a superb showing with over 20 medals.

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Ranging from under 7 years old to over 50 and wearing belts from white to black, our athletes performed with poise and dignity. The podium placement are as follows:

  1. Ryan Koo – Gold (Kata)
  2. Brenna Lin – Gold (Kata)
  3. Tyler Lin – Gold (Kobudo), Gold (Kata)
  4. Kai Lin – Bronze (Kumite), Bronze (Kata)
  5. Lara Kwaipun – Bronze (Kobudo), Gold (Team Kata)
  6. Daniel Kwaipun – Silver (Kata), Silver (Kumite)
  7. Cassidy Truong – Gold (Kobudo), Gold (Team Kata)
  8. Cadence Truong – Gold Kobudo, Gold (Team Kata)
  9. Erica Chin – Bronze (Kobudo)
  10. Zachary Chin – Gold (Kobudo), Silver (Kata)
  11. Kayla Jackson – Gold (Kobudo), Gold (Kata), Silver (Kumite)
  12. Kaz Yamashita – Silver (Kata)
  13. Koa Yamashita – Silver (Kata)
  14. Stan Yamashita – Silver (Kata)

Of course the team is never complete without the contribution of parents who put aside their time and effort to help ease the logistics of getting meals, marshaling athletes, and sharing their unconditional support.

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Car Wash and BBQ Update

Thank you to Bean Around the World Cafe, Tina’s Bakery, Markham Bowl, and Home Hardware helping us out during our annual car wash and BBQ. With all the rain during the start of the summer, we were really concerned about a possible inclement weather report. Mother nature smiled on us however and it turned out to be a beautiful day. The parent committee, extremely busy with their own personal lives, successfully came together and arranged the event within 2 weeks.

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The Lin family slow cooked their secret pulled pork recipe to perfection and offered for sale at the BBQ. What a hit! Vegetarian options were also available as well as the juicy hot dogs and burgers. The Co family made their cupcakes which went like gangbusters.

The Markham community came in droves and we were pleased to have all 3 bays filled for most of the time. Mike, the new manager of No Frills came by and bought a coffee and had his car washed also. Overall, the team was humbled by the support of the community.dsc8116.jpg

Our annual car wash marks the close of the competitive season with just a few weeks to rest up before we start training for the 2017/2018 year.  This past year, the team had 6 out of town competitions. New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Detroit, Raleigh, and Montreal. The funds will go towards help the athletes pay for travel and coaching expenses.  As the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo includes Karate, many of the athletes now have Olympic dreams. Next year, Okinawa, Japan is on the list of tournaments to attend as their introduction to worldly competition.

Once again, the team can’t thank everyone enough for helping out with their donations. See you next year.