Oku Damashi Martial Arts Dojo (School) in Langdon has a lot to be proud of after scooping up multiple medals at the Western Provincial Championships in Edmonton on April 26.
The event, held at the Edmonton Sports Dome, saw martial artists from across the province come to compete in events including kata and sparring.
Of the 19 athletes from the Langdon School that attended the provincial event, an incredible 12 received medals and placed on Team Alberta, also earning an invitation to the upcoming WKC National Championships in Ottawa from May 16 to 18 where they will be vying for a spot on Team Canada. At Oku Damashi Dojo, the students learn a traditional Japanese style of a Karate called Goju Ryu.
8 year olds Kailey Lang and Cassidy Webber-Canning certainly enjoyed the atmosphere at the provincial event, “It was pretty neat competing in Edmonton because it was my first time there, but I liked getting up in front of the judges – I was nervous but really excited,” said Lang. “What I enjoyed the most was that we were actually treated like real competitors so that was cool,” added Webber-Canning.
Friends Catherine Golden and Skylar Graham will be travelling to Ottawa for the National event and are happy to be competing in such a high caliber competition, “The competition is tough and serious but we have been working hard all year and we are ready,” said 14 year old Graham.
Golden has been involved in martial arts since the age of nine and says the best part of the sport is both the people and the life skills she is learning. “We are learning skills that we can use later on in life like how to protect yourself if anything were to happen,” comments Golden, who trains at Oku Damashi with Sensei Tammy Thankachen 4 -5 times per week.
“All of these kids are so great, I am proud of every one of them for their hard work and dedication,” says Sensei Tammy Thankachen, “I am thrilled so many of them will be going on to compete at such a high level, it’s really spectacular for them. I am very proud to be their Sensei and I learn a lot from them everyday, they are the reason I teach!”
The group of athletes certainly worked hard for their spots on Team Alberta, having to face some serious competitors but 11 year old Chase Tweit was ready for the test, “The toughest part was the black belt sparring,” said Tweit, who added that because he usually trains 3-4 times per week he was prepared.
Although most of the competitors will be going onto Nationals for the first time, it will be the second trip for 7 year old Talisa Cowley who has dreams of making it onto Team Canada. “I am proud of myself because I have trained hard,” said Cowley, who began martial arts at the young age of 2.5 years old.
“My hope for them [students] in the future is to be good, strong, confident Martial Artists that no matter what the outcome in whatever they do, hold their heads up high knowing they’ve done their very best and that they have the ultimate respect for others and that they keep humble hearts, in success and defeat,” says Sensei Tammy Thankachen, “Martial arts will offer them numerous attributes throughout their lives; self-confidence, leadership, self defense and respect for every being; strong mind, body and spirit.”
The top four competitors in each division at the National Championships will go onto compete for Canada at the 2014 WKC World event held in Dublin Ireland.