While trophies will be handed out to the top karate students during the 10th annual Chito-Ryu Friendship tournament, it’s more about personal growth than victory.
“It’s a really good thing for the younger ones,” said sensei Chris Taneda, who runs his own dojo in Summerland, Penticton and Kelowna. “It gives them a gauge to where they are in their training. Their confidence level just shifts. Sometimes it’s not whether they win or lose, it’s just going in and doing something. When you watch some kids, they don’t have that much experience and then they will get one point and you just see the light bulb go on.”
Participating in tournaments such as this, which also provides a clinic, pushes the students to train harder. Regardless of how they perform, each competitor has improved because of the work put in. Taneda said in the past they have had seven-year-old students who want the challenge of facing a competitor even though they have no experience.
“They just want to do it,” laughed Taneda.
He also recalled an incident with Koen Buckingham, who was seven at the time he competed in a tournament and was chatting on the sidelines with the finals about to begin when another opponent made the comment the bought was going to be a piece of cake.
“Koen says I’m going to make you eat that cake,” said Taneda. “The referees had to stop because it was so cute. The referee said they had to stop talking. He didn’t win that match but he was awarded the sportsmanship trophy.”
For Taneda’s older and more experienced students, the tournament provides more experience to them in other events and sometimes provides the chance to face competitors up to three years older.
Taneda’s Karate Dojo has 80 of the 150 participants competing at the Penticton Lakeside Resort from Friday to Sunday. Among them are Buckingham, Sophie Taylor and Katie Becker.
Buckingham wants to see how well he performs to learn what he needs to improve on. He’s also just wanting to have fun.
Taylor, who has a yellow belt, knows what she wants to accomplish.
“I want to learn how to focus more,” the 10-year-old said.
For Becker, this will be the second time she competes in the tournament and remembers how it was the first time.
“The competition was good. It was a little bit nerve wracking, but I had a fun experience,” she said. “I can’t wait to do it this year.”
The clinic part of the tournament will be on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with kumite in the morning and self-defence techniques taught in the afternoon.