Central States Karate Championships – 2017

Earlier this month, Michael and his teammates from Forte’s American Karate, competed in the Central States Karate Championships at Fridley High School. I like this location for tournaments due to its dropped floor in the gym. There are great vantage points all around the gym to watch the tournament from. What I didn’t know, was that there was also a second gym. This is where the black belts and many of the adults competed…

Michael has been nervous to compete ever since he got his black belt a year and a half ago.  He has competed once since then, but didn’t do as well as he had hoped, so he took a break from competing.  He finally decided to give it another go a year later. He decided that he would just spar this time.

This tournament is typically way behind on time. I showed up about a half hour before he was supposed to fight, expecting that he wouldn’t be going for a couple more hours.  They were running pretty much on time, which was a pleasant surprise. We waited for just a short time before the black belts started sparring.

There were 7 boys in the 12-13 year old division. They had them line up by height. Michael was exactly in the middle. The 4 “shorter” boys were all within an inch of each other. The next tallest boy was probably a full inch taller than Michael. I was glad that the ring judges decided that the four boys who were all about the same height would be sparring against each other.

Michael had quite a crew cheering him on. His dad and I were there, his Grandma and Grandpa, and several of his team mates who were done competing for the day. Michael’s fights both went well. He won both of them, taking first place. It was very exciting for him (and those of us who were watching him).

After his fight, we stayed to watch his teacher, Mr. Hallberg, spar in the Men’s 18-29 year old division. He also won his matches, taking first place. He made it look so easy, but it was fun to watch! Michael’s friend, Natalia, won in the girls’ black belt 12-13 year old division. Michael was glad girls and boys did not spar each other, because he and Natalia are pretty evenly matched. They were both sparring at the same time, so they didn’t get to cheer each other on. It was pretty exciting that all 3 black belts from the White Bear Lake school took first place in their divisions!

I’m looking forward to watching Michael in future tournaments! Now that he has found his confidence, I’m sure there will be more!



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