Five members of the Taneda Karate Dojo are ready to kick and punch their way to the BC Winter Games podium in Penticton Feb. 25-28.
The Taneda Karate Dojo, based in Kelowna, Westbank, Summerland and Penticton, will be represented by the following: Marcus Bartier and Steven Taylor, Penticton; Jacob Slizek and Caitlyn Riddle, Summerland; and Matthew Broder of Okanagan Falls. The athletes compete in the intermediate and advanced categories. The dojo has 12 athletes in total competing.
“I think they have a good opportunity, all of them will,” said sensei Chris Taneda. “Hopefully all the kids will have about the same amount of experience They all have good chances. They are all training really hard for it. They know it’s their one shot at BC Winter Games.”
Taneda is happy to see his athletes getting this chance to be part of what he describes as a “mini Olympics.”
“It’s one of the best experiences for this age group,” he said. “They are a part of something that is bigger than just our sport.”
Breaking down his athletes, Taneda said that Taylor brings a quickness that he doesn’t fully realize. Taylor also didn’t come in with a lot of fighting experience so Taneda is interested to see how he performs.
Bartier brings plenty of kumite experience and another key quality.
“He’s a pretty tough kid,” said Taneda.
“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity, once-in-a-lifetime,” said Bartier, who is excited for the competition. “I think I will do pretty good if I train hard.”
Slizek is one of the dojo’s more experienced fighters and Taneda said he’s one of the better ones. His performance will depend on his focus. Broder is new to the competition scene and Taneda talked about the unknown potential.
“They just don’t understand how good that they really are,” he said.
Taneda said as he goes through matches, he will gain confidence.
Riddle is heading in with a lot of tournament experience. She has the ability to pick up on her opponents timing.
“It’s like a specific type of focus,” he said. “Once they start picking up the motions of the other people then they have a really good chance of succeeding.”
Along with being a timing fighter, she can have combination attacks.
“She’s a good spirited kid, too,” he said.
Riddle is excited about meeting people, but loves to compete.
“It’s just like a new learning experience,” she said. “I think if I put a lot of effort in, I can do pretty well. I’m pretty nervous, but I am quite confident as well.”