Nationals inspire karate athletes

Emlyn Folkes and Bernadette Alvarez of Shima Karate were part of Team B.C. at Karate Canada’s national championships in Toronto.

Emlyn Folkes and Bernadette Alvarez of Nanaimo’s Shima Karate are back with medals after competing for Team B.C. at Karate Canada’s national championships in Toronto earlier this month.

Emlyn Folkes and Bernadette Alvarez of Nanaimo’s Shima Karate are back with medals after competing for Team B.C. at Karate Canada’s national championships in Toronto earlier this month.

Two Nanaimo teens returned from karate nationals with medals and with some more inspiration, too.

Emlyn Folkes and Bernadette Alvarez of Shima Karate were part of Team B.C. at Karate Canada’s national championships in Toronto from March 15-17.

Folkes earned gold in team forms, while Alvarez earned a silver in individual forms and a bronze in sparring.

Alvarez, 17, has been to nationals before and was determined to do well this time around.

“The previous years I didn’t do so well and I really don’t like leaving things on a bad note like that, so generally I would keep trying,” she said.

She stuck with her aggressive style in the sparring but also heeded her coach’s instructions, she said, to help her do well. It was a battle, though.

“If you’re a very linear fighter, it’s not a good thing,” she said. “You end up getting kicked in the head and thrown a lot.”

Folkes, 16, was making his first trip to nationals. He said while training with Team B.C. leading up to the event, he found himself matched up with strong teammates.

“You think, wow, they’re incredible, and you think, we’ve got such a solid team, how are we going to lose? And then [at nationals] you see someone that’s even better,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

Alvarez said nationals are always fun, and also a valuable opportunity to gauge herself.

“And I get to see these people who are really, really good go against other people who are really, really good and it’s so much fun to see,” she said.

Folkes said nationals were really inspiring.

“I saw a lot of different techniques that work for a lot of people that are much better,” he said. “So I can choose techniques, like, ‘OK, I want to try that.’”

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