- About Us
Locals excel at martial arts tournament
At the Unified Karate Academy they believe in doing things old school.
“It’s just traditional training, lots of the basics,” Sensei James Penor said. “The kids like to learn though.”
For Penor and the athletes he trains in karate classes held at Green River Community College and at the Auburn Dojo at Rainier Middle School, the basics have paid off.
Penor’s students took home an astounding 25 trophies, including the 5-foot Grand Champion Kata (forms) trophy won by black belt Charles Nguyen, at the 40th annual Shorin-ryu Open at Mill Creek Middle School in Kent last week.
From the Green River class, Nhan Huynh finished first in kata and kumite (sparring), as did Christina Woody. Kelsie Hesseltine was second in her division in both disciplines, and Cassandra Houghton and Jason Parrish were third in both disciplines in their respective divisions.
From the Auburn class, first-time tournament competitor Brandan Temple grabbed first in kata and third in kumite and Mason Cooper was second in kumite, fourth in kata.
Mehail Mathew and Saniel Mathew both finished third in kumite in their divisions.
“It’s a good surprise,” Penor said. “For a lot of the kids it was their first tournament. Now they know what it’s all about they want to do more tournaments. Some kids you have no idea what’s inside of them, and then they do so well at tournaments. It’s surprising to see what they have inside of them.”
Penor, who was trained by legendary martial artist Takayuki Kubota, said he believes the lessons learned by his student’s participation in karate will help them in other aspects of their life.
“Tournaments are just winning trophies and medals for that day,” he said. “Hopefully karate will help them in other parts of their lives.”