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.

Olympic Possibilities

karate-in-olympicsIt is now official. Karate is an Olympic sport for 2020 in Tokyo. Champion karate athletes are coming out of retirement, new people are interested in joining the movement, and the karate world has been turned upside down.

So what now?

Team Meibukan have been competing the AAU Karate circuit for quite some time. The AAU is a USA based group that have been involved in promoting amateur sports for over 100 years. Since 1888, the AAU program has developed athletes like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Lebron James. Up until 1978, with the formation of the United States Olympic Committee, they were the Olympic representative for the USA.

The AAU Karate circuit was chosen by the coach of Team Meibukan because of its balanced philosophy of winning in sport and winning in life. There is a culture of mutual respect among the parents, athletes, officials, coaches, and tournament promoters which honours the game and encourages athletes to stay in the dojo. Another reason is because the Canadian stream does not have a strong traditional karate circuit for under black belt athletes that will lead them into a national level competition. The AAU does…and does so well within positive environment.

Now that Karate is an Olympic sport, there are a few athletes in Team Meibukan that could be of the right age in 2020. These athletes deserve an opportunity to present themselves in front of Karate Canada via our Provincial Sport Organization which is Karate Ontario. This will result in a the development of second tier of elite athletes. Criteria for these athletes are:

  • Must have competed in AAU Karate for 2 years
  • Must be qualified or capable of competing at Black Belt level.
  • Must commit to strict training schedule

The 2016/2017 Team Meibukan tiers are as follows:

  • Elite A – Karate Canada stream, AKA Club Seiryu (AAU events, Karate Ontario events, US Open, Montreal Open)
  • Elite B – AAU Karate stream (Syracuse, Chicago, and Nationals)
  • Intermural League – Among outside clubs within Canada (minimum of 3 tournaments)
  • House League – Among the membership within NOX Dojo (4 tournaments)

If your are interested in competing for Team Meibukan, even if you are from another club, you are encouraged to join in on our meeting scheduled for Friday, September 16th, 2016 at 4:00 pm.


AAU National Results

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:

  1. Bob Lindblom: Gold in Kata and Bronze in Kumite
  2. Ryan Koo: Silver in Kata
  3. Tiana Shetty: Bronze in Kumite
  4. Jayda Shetty: Bronze in Kumite
  5. Misuzu Tamaki: Silver in Kumite
  6. Rikizo Tamaki: Bronze in Kumite
  7. Shaelynn Dyson: Bronze in Kumite
  8. Shivon Dyson: Silver in Kumite
  9. Chandan Dhiman: Gold in Kumite
  10. Ethan Co: Bronze in Kumite
  11. Nolan Chong: Bronze in Kumite
  12. Michael Barrasso: Bronze in Kumite

IMAG1545With 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!

Toronto Karate Kids Results

Nine Team Meibukan athletes ranging from 5 to 13 from Markham’s NOX Dojo competed this weekend at La Liga in Toronto for a local Karate tournament. The competition was tough and all results were a challenge to earn. Here is our medal count.

  1. Michaella Co: Kata – Gold | Kumite – Bronze
  2. Sydney Lublin: Kata – Silver | Kumite – Gold
  3. Joanne Tran: Kata – Gold
  4. Zachary Chin: Kata – Gold | Kumite Bronze
  5. Erica Chin: Kata – Bronze | Kumite Bronze
  6. Ryan Koo: Kata – Gold
  7. Ethan Co: Kata – Gold
  8. Nolan Chong: Kata – Bronze
  9. Chevaughn Chambers: Kata – Silver | Kumite Silver