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Karate tournament improves friendship, skill
The calibre of karate students stood out in the 2014 Chito-Ryu Friendship Tournament and Clinic.
Hosted at the Penticton Lakeside Resort on April 12, the Taneda Karate Dojo hosted more than 150 athletes, the majority from the Okanagan Valley, as well as from Saskatchewan, Alberta, Burnaby and northern B.C.
“The quality of the competition is rising. It’s really exciting to watch,” said sensei Chris Taneda, who has a seventh degree black belt. “It’s more like a big family. You see lots of good sportsmanship. That’s when they are building friendships.”
Taneda described Saturday as awesome. He was pleased to see how well kids were doing, especially getting coached during matchups. Breaks during the matches were 15 seconds as the coaches gave students tips.
“Kids don’t realize how good the coaches are they are talking to,” said Taneda, who noticed a younger girl receiving instruction from a Pan American champion. “It has been really good.”
Rita Becker and Jodi Bartier, members of the Taneda Dojo Club, said the tournament was fun and part of that is because of how good competitors are.
“Their spirit and their heart, it’s just so nice to watch,” said Becker, a Summerland resident. “The level of camaraderie and sportsmanship, everybody has a good time.”
When asked about the quality of students, Becker said kids are starting off earlier and with the level of instruction, especially from Taneda, are better and faster.
When it came to competing themselves, Becker and Bartier had to put their friendship aside as they fought on the mat.
“Quite often we end up fighting each other,” said Bartier, adding there are not many women their age fighting. “I prefer fighting someone I don’t know as well. It’s hard fighting a good friend.”
“All bets are off for about a one minute, 30 seconds,” said Becker of their friendship. “We love each other dearly. We are both quite competitive.”
Becker said she’s glad the group they compete in has grown as it gives a better indication of how they measure up against others. Becker wanted to step things up during the tournament and execute what she learned in the dojo. Bartier was just excited to compete. Together they earned a silver medal in team kata and tied for fourth in individual kata.
Taneda said this year’s tournament attracted the largest number of competitors yet. He also praised the facility, which has been the perfect venue.