Seven martial artists from Langdon and area will take their kicking, punching, and grappling skills to Canada’s capital next month, after successfully trying out for Alberta’s WKC (World Karate and Kickboxing Commission) provincial team in Edmonton earlier this spring.
Tammy Thankachen, the sensei and owner of Oku Damashi Martial Arts, said the seven members of the Chestermere- and Carseland-based dojo had a fantastic time on their trip to Edmonton March 19 and 20, capping off a successful weekend with a flurry of medals and spots on the provincial karate team.
“They were proud to represent their community and their dojo,” Thankachen said. “Now they’re excited and over the moon to try out [nationally] – a little nervous too, but that’s part of the experience.”
The club’s medalists included Logan Alce (17 years old), Mateo Orr (10), Nathan Mutlow (nine), Miara Robinson (nine), Gemma Alce (nine), Kaiya Robinson (12), and Zoe Neufeld (12).
While Oku Damashi was previously based in Langdon for 17 years, Thankachen said the dojo recently relocated to Chestermere and Carseland. Despite the relocation, she added most of the club’s athletes still hail from the hamlet of Langdon or nearby communities.
Thankachen said the competition/tryout in Edmonton marked the first time since before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic over two years ago that Oku Damashi’s members had competed in a formal karate competition, and she said the kids were excited to finally test themselves against other athletes again.
“To try out, the kids had to compete in areas such as kata, which is traditional forms, and then they had to compete in points sparring as well as continuous sparring,” she explained. “In each division, the kids brought home multiple medals. Every single kid brought home a medal.”
Despite their lengthy hiatus from formal competition, the Oku Damashi athletes showed little signs of rust in Alberta’s capital, garnering 19 medals during the tournament, including eight gold, nine silver, and two bronzes.
“They did so good, with not a lot of prep, so I’m proud of them,” Thankachen said.
Now, the athletes are preparing for the national team tryouts in Ottawa, which will be held from May 20 to 22. If they are successful at the national team tryouts in Ontario, Thankachen said they would have the opportunity to travel to Dublin, Ireland next October to take part in the World WKC Championships, where they would be competing against some of the best youth martial artists from across the world.
“I’m just super excited and proud of these youngsters,” Thankachen said. “I think each of them will do very well because they’re such cool, talented martial artists.”