A member of the Campbell River Shito-Ryu club is heading off to the Karate Canada Junior National Championships starting today in Edmonton.
Cody Chamberlin had been to the nationals a couple of times before, heading to Halifax in 2018 and Quebec City in 2017, where he won a third-place medal.
He was hoping to compete in both seniors and juniors at the same time this year, but the events changed.
“This year they split it with juniors and seniors,” he says.
The senior nationals were held in January in Gatineau, Que.
Now 18, he had been considering challenging up in the U21 category as well as in the 16-17-year-old category. With the junior nationals being moved to May, he ended up aging out of the 16-17 division. Age categories are also split up by weight, and Chamberlin will be in the -84 kilogram category.
For people to qualify for nationals, there is a system of points. At the end of the season in June, there is the Canada Open, where competitors get points to show up. The following year, there are a couple of major events to accumulate points for top four finishes, the provincial championships and the Karate BC Open.
“Those are both major points tournaments,” he says.
He won golds at these two events, and also silvered in the 16-17 division.
There is also a final selection tournament only open to people that already have points. For this year’s tournament in March, his place in the nationals was already secure, so he did not need to compete.
This weekend, the ceremonies to open the event are set for Friday, with competitions to follow on the weekend. Chamberlin will compete on Sunday because he is in the oldest division and one of the heavier brackets. The event will end with a banquet and awards on the Sunday evening.
He describes himself as taking a different approach than many competitors, who often try to be the biggest fighter at the high end of a weight category. Chamberlin, on the other hand, will try to slip over in the next category, which means he might be on the small side among the competitors but can better use his speed.
“I’m not the biggest person in the world, but I’m big enough and I’m fast, so I use what I have,” he says.
His goals for this year’s nationals? He’ll be in Kumite U21 -84 now going up against a half dozen others, whereas the first times he was in 14-15 and 16-17 division, and as the competition changes, so do his expectations.
“Every year, it’s something new for me,” he says.
Chamberlin, who’s also a competitive curler, has been involved with karate for about 10 years now, having started when some friends got involved, and last year he tested for his black belt with one of those friends.
He enjoys representing Campbell River Shito-Ryu, which he describes as a “solid community of people,” and credits Roy Tippenhauer and the other coaches for what they’ve had to teach him.
He says Tippenhauer works well with members at all levels, not just those like himself who head off to national tournaments, and the result is that people often stay in the club for a long time.
“Roy’s a fantastic coach,” Chamberlin says. “He really brings a lot of experience.”
Stay tuned to the Karate Canada website, where the matches will be streaming.