Karate open is Saturday

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 8, 2012

The South Alabama Karate Open at Straughn High School is this Saturday. Competition starts at 10 a.m. | File photo

Five different karate schools from across the Southeast will converge at Straughn High School on Saturday for the 14th annual South Alabama Karate Open.

The tournament will offer different karate styles and schools of Taekwondo and Tangsoodo (Korean); Shotokan and Yoshukai (Japanese); Shorinryu and Isshinryu (Okinawan); Kung Fu (Chinese); and American Karate (blended styles). Andalusia, the host karate team and class, practices the Isshinryu style of karate.

“They will compete against each other in a spirit of good, hard competition, but also with the proper respect and manners that martial arts teach,” Andalusia Isshinryu Karate instructor Mark Rudd said.

Rudd said those interested in entering the tournament can do so at the door. Competition will begin at 10 a.m. Admission for spectators 13 and up is $5, and $3 for children ages 6-12. Children under six get in free.

The entry fee for competitors is $50 for any or all events.

There will be 80 total divisions trophies through fourth place in each, and medals for all youth kata competitors that do not place.

Rudd said the competition will begin with black belt weapons and kata, and then progress to below black belt competition. At the completion of the tournament, the black belt fighting will take place.

Four grand champions will be awarded — adult black belt kata and weapons, youth black belt kata and weapons, women’s black belt fighting, and men’s black belt fighting.

Locally, there will be 40 Andalusia Isshinryu students, and students from the Opp Yoshukai school competing in the tournament as well. Additionally, students from Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Georgia have pre-registered, Rudd said, but “we expect students from Kentucky and Mississippi to also be here.”

Rudd said the main reason why the class holds the tournament in Andalusia is because it gives those students that haven’t had the opportunity to travel with the team a good idea of what competition is really like.

“It also gives them a chance to meet other students, make friends and to see outstanding black belt competitors perform,” he said. “This is their ‘home tournament,’ so they are all preparing extra hard for this tournament. We always expect them to prepare well and do their best, and to conduct themselves in a way that represents our dojo (school), their family and Andalusia in the right way.”

The tournament will take place in the SHS gymnasium, and concessions will be provided by the Southside Baptist Church brotherhood.