Author: Chris Nelson
Last Saturday, students in the Occidental karate program competed in a tournament to benefit the Wise Place Women’s Shelter in Santa Ana. Eleven Oxy students, under the guidance of Soke Kubota and Sensei Victor Chico, competed in the tournament.
Participants in the tournaments donated canned goods, rice, pasta, toilet paper and paper towels as a means of helping the shelter. Oxy students showed their generosity as they brought more than the required donation. “We had bags of food,” Sensei Chico said. “It was great to see the cars so full.”
In the tournament, students competed in both kata and kumite. “The kata part of the competition is a lot like the floor competition in gymnastics,” Chico said. “In kata, five judges grade your fundamentals and forms.”
The kumite portion of the competition is sparring, and it was in the kumite competition that Oxy’s Amanda Leong (first-year) found herself in an interesting position. Leong was hit in the eye early in the tournament, but nevertheless reached the finals of the kumite portion of the competition. The judges and referees questioned whether Leong could spar, but she went on to win in the finals regardless of not being able to see out of her left eye.
“Amanda showed a lot of heart,” Chico said. “She could have given up, but instead she fought and fought for first and won. She has a black eye, but she will be fine.”
Oxy students had a strong showing in the tournament, with the 11 students combining for 13 trophies. Several students came out on top in their competitions: Mandarin Yan (senior) finished first in kata and second in kumite for the Women’s Novice Division; Michael Adams (senior) finished first in kumite in the Men’s Beginner Division; Amanda Leong finished first in kumite and third in kata in the Women’s Beginner Division; and Tef Fuchs (first-year) finished first in the kata portion of the Men’s Beginner Division.
“I am so proud of everyone who competed,” Chico said.
Occidental’s growing karate program has participated in several tournaments this semester and Kubota and Chico’s students have faired very well in each of them. According to Chico, this tournament was special because not only did the students get a chance to compete, but they also raised funds and awareness for the Wise Place Women’s Shelter.
“Its one of my favorite tournaments,” Chico said. “You feel good about being there because it is such a good cause.”
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