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Rudd wins Hall of Fame tournament

Simply the best -- that describes how Andalusia's Mark Rudd performed at the largest Issin-Ryu karate tournament in the world over the weekend.

Rudd, who teaches classes through the Adult Activity Center and at USA Gym and Fitness Center, earned the title of Overall Grand Champion at the Issin-Ryu Hall of Fame Karate Tournament.

Rudd won first-place honors in weapons and fighting among black belts. He also earned a second-place finish in kata at the tournament held in the Gatlingburg (Tenn.) Convention Center on Saturday.

This was Rudd's fourth time to compete in the tournament, but his first time to win at the prestigious event.

Rudd said he had placed before, but never won in the tournament that features karate students from throughout North America, including Canada and Puerto Rico.

Rudd felt overwhelmed by his wins, especially the Overall Grand Champion title.

"I just thank the Lord for giving me good health, the opportunity and the ability to win," Rudd said. "It's an honor to be competitive, much less win.

"That is definitely the highlight of my career,"he added. "Without a doubt."

Phillip Martin of Andalusia also competed at the tournament and earned a fourth-place finish in youth black belt weapons.