Athletes from across the Island travelled to Campbell River last Saturday to take part in the 11th annual Campbell River Shito Ryu Challenge Cup at the Sportsplex.
This is a fun and recreational tournament for athletes under the age of 18 which is focused on development rather than medal placings.
Each athlete under the age of 12 gets two chances to compete in each of their divisions. Each U12 athlete also receives a written feedback to allow for reflection and improvement. Rules are modified for this age group as well.
“This concept is relatively new and controversial, as most people are used to Gold Medal being the measure of success,” says Sensei Roy Tippenhauer, who hosts the tournament. “If we use that standard only one person has succeeded. I focus on personal best and continuing to improve your personal best. This is the 30th year anniversary of our club and of me coaching the club. In its history we have had 10 national champions, numerous silver and bronze, numerous provincial titles and one international bronze medal.”
The standouts for the tournament from Campbell River’s club were in the 14-15 boys brown black kata where the club took the top four medals – two of the competitors in this division had never been in a tournament before.
The other big standout and perhaps the most heartwarming was the performance by 9-year-old Nola Cooledge who received a gold and silver and the tournament’s junior sportsmanship award.
“Despite a recent personal family tragedy, Cooledge has shown great sportsmanship, grace and dignity for someone so young,” Tippenhauer says.
This year’s Challenge Cup tournament featured Karate BC trained officials officiating two rings and another ring totally dedicated to speed, agility and quickness, with kids able to play in this ring under supervision while the tournament went on. The skills in the ring are designed to aid in the athletes’ development while having fun.
“We look forward to next years tournament again focusing on developing young athletes skills so they can use them when they move into a more competitive environment with higher level divisions,” Tippenhauer adds. “Karate has been chosen as one of the new olympic sports for 2020 in Tokyo and the new possibilities are exciting.”
Campbell River Shito Ryu is a member of the Karate BC Association which sanctioned the event.