AAU Karate Nationals 2018

On June 28th – 30th, 18 athletes along with their families and coach ventured into the of heat competition at the AAU Karate National Championships to compete among America’s best karate athletes within the Amateur Athletic Union. The AAU was founded in 1888 in the USA and is among the oldest sporting organization in the hemisphere. It was, at one point, the representative of the Olympics for its country until the USOC was created. Since then, the AAU has been an athlete development program representing athletes within the school system nationally.

As a development program, AAU Karate has the liberty to have overseas athletes attend their national program for an inclusive and international event which means a greater competition base for the athletes. Countries like Romania and Serbia were also a part of the competition for 2018.

Team Meibukan’s athletes for 2018 is made up of beginner white belts to expert black belts from 7 to 54 years old. As with each and every year, our athletes challenge themselves to become the best that they can possibly be for that day. Fighting injuries, nerves, fear, fevers, and exhaustion, come with the territory of an elite level competition. Also however, so does meeting new friends, reaching new levels, creating healthy bonds, learning how to deal with challenges, learning how to support each other through difficult times. Because of this, there are no losers on Team Meibukan.

This year, our 18 athletes returned with 26 medals. The medal list is as follows:

  • Kayla Jackson – Silver Kobudo/Gold Kata/Gold Kumite
  • Kai Lin – Gold Kobudo/Bronze Kata/Gold Kumite
  • Zachary Chin – Gold Kobudo/Gold Kata
  • Lara Kwaipun – Gold Kobudo/Gold Kata
  • Daniel Kwaipun – Gold Kata/Silver Kumite
  • Cassidy Truong – Silver Kobudo/Gold Kata
  • Cadence Truong – Gold Kobudo/Bronze Kata
  • Joanne Tran – Gold Kobudo/Bronze Kata
  • Stan Yamashita – Silver Kata/Bronze Kumite
  • Erica Chin – Gold Kobudo
  • Koa Yamashita – Silver Kata
  • Michaella Co – Bronze Kumite
  • Tiago Piesz – Bronze Kumite
  • Ryan Koo – Bronze Kobudo
  • Ethan Co – Bronze Kata

The success of the team is often measured by podium finishes but those of us who compete understand that the value of intangibles far outweigh any podium placement in a healthy competitive environment which the AAU is continually emphasizing. Parents and family members pitched in to help with the myriad of logistics. Brenna Lin, Tyler Lin, Kai Lin, Daniel Kwaipun, and Ethan Co did double duty as both competitors and assistant coaches. Parents came together to create positive experiences for the athletes. Stephanie Chin was clearly the backbone as she seemed to be always one step ahead of us. Knowing which athlete was next, and readying all the paperwork. Rob Chin and Elaine Truong spent hours organizing and picking up all team dinners. Darryl Jackson lugged all of the team’s bulky luggage to and from Florida. Tyler Quick who always had his focus mitts ready to go whenever the athletes need it. Mary Lin and Rachel Lam who always seemed to carry their TARDIS of a purse which had everything from needle and thread to first aid equipment. Stan Yamashita who created the team’s wonderful video and acted and as photographer. Of course, Joe, Kenneth, Jimmy, Bryan, Tracey, Ardell, Helen, and Charlene were of remarkable support who made sure everything went without a hitch.

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.


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.


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.


A Winning Start


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.


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.


Motoring in Detroit’s Jr. Olympics

A full team of 14 eligible athletes took a road trip to the Detroit suburbs of Novi, Michigan for the AAU Jr. Olympics on August 3rd, 2017. This was the very first JO event that our team went to and we had no idea what to expect. The event was smaller than nationals but the level of competition was quite good. The month between Nationals and JOs, time was spent improving on some sparring and weapons skills This paid off in the long run with close to 2 dozen podium finishes. Thanks to Ethan Co and Zachary Chin who competed and placed in 3 events to help increase our medal count. podium finishes are as follows.

  1. Ethan Co: Gold (Kobudo), Bronze (Kata), Bronze (Kumite) 3 count
  2. Zachary Chin: Gold (Kobudo), Gold (Kata), Bronze (Kumite) 3 count
  3. Tiago Peisz: Bronze (Kumite) 1 count
  4. Shaelynn Dyson: Bronze, (Kata), Silver (Kumite) 2 count
  5. Shivon Dyson: Bronze (Kumite) 1 count
  6. Nolan Chong: Bronze (Kata), Bronze (Kumite) 2 count
  7. Brenna Lin: Gold (Kata), Bronze (Kumite) 2 count
  8. Sydney Lublin: Gold (Kata), Gold (Kumite) 2 count
  9. Michaella Co: Gold (Kata), Gold (Kumite) 2 count
  10. Chandan Dhiman: Kata (Bronze)  1 count
  11. Michael Barrasso: Bronze (Kata), Silver (Kumite) 2 count
  12. Ryan Koo: Silver (Kata), Bronze (Kumite)  2 count
  13. Brandon Dela Cruz: Fourth (Kata), Fourth (Kumite)
  14. Tyler Lin: Fourth (Kobudo)

Total Medal Count: 23

We are please that our year finished of positively/ Next year the focus will be am Olympic style of competition.


2017 AAU Karate Nationals

Sixteen athletes from NOX Dojo ventured to Raleigh, NC for the AAU National Karate Championships to compete against over a thousand other athletes considered to be the best in the nation for AAU. The repeat of last year’s successes in terms of sheer number of medals eluded us this year yet the growth in skills surpassed all other years.

2017 aau nationals

Held over the July long weekend from June 29th to July 1st, 2017, our team stretched themselves beyond their previous limits. This year a number of our athletes moved up to the extremely challenging black belt division where they competed against veteran international athletes. In addition, we also added a weapons division to the team.  Even with these new challenges, our athletes devoted their heart and soul into the challenges of competition. Without fail, every athlete represented Markham and NOX Dojo with dignity and poise. Enough so that bystanders would comment on the class in which we demonstrated ourselves. Even with these new hurdle heights we returned with eleven podium finishes.

Sean Wong (Over 45 Black Belt): Bronze Kata, Bronze Kumite
Shivon Dyson (Black Belt): Bronze Kata
Ethan Co (Advanced Kyu): Gold Kata, Silver Kobudo, Bronze Kumite
Nolan Chong (Advanced Kyu): Gold Kumite
Tiago Peisz (Intermediate Kyu): Bronze Kumite
Sydney Lublin (Intermediate Kyu): Bronze Kata, Bronze Kumite
Michaella Co (Beginner Kyu): Bronze Kumite

The rest of our team just missed the podium by a few positions resulting in a top 5 or top 10 finish for all athletes. Our last event of the season is the Junior Olympics this August in Detroit, Michigan. What we learned from Nationals will be used to improve our standings. Please stay tuned for its update.