Butler wins elite award

Published 12:01 am Thursday, August 2, 2012

Shown from L to R: Mark Rudd, Caleb Blackston, Garrett Blackston, Taj Patel, Allen Butler and Kenny Blackston. | Courtesy photo

Allen Butler received quite a “surprise” when he won the Junior Male Competitor of the Year award for the second time at the 33rd annual Isshinryu Hall of Fame banquet on Friday in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“I’m honored to have won it,” Butler said. “It’s a big-time award with a lot of good competition up for it. It was a very good experience.”

Additionally, Butler’s classmate, Taj Patel, won a certificate in the Young Male Karate-ka of the Year category.

The IHOF banquet is held each year to recognize Isshinryu practitioners for their contribution to the art and for accomplishments in different areas of karate.

Butler and Patel were nominated from Andalusia’s Isshinryu Karate school and were chosen as one of five finalists in their respective award categories.

The finalists are chosen by the Isshinryu Hall of Fame Board of Directors, who reviews nominations, which are sent in from the United States and around the world.

“It’s a big honor to be selected,” Andalusia Isshinryu Karate instructor Mark Rudd said. “Both have had good years, not only in the karate school, but in other things as well.”

In fact, Patel came in 29th place at the Alabama State Spelling Bee in March.

Patel said it was a memorable experience.

“I will never forget it,” he said. “There were a lot of people there.”

Patel’s father, Neil, said he worked hard for the award.

“He likes karate, and he wants to excel in it,” Neil Patel said. “Even though he didn’t win it this year, Taj said, ‘well dad, I have more years to compete so I think I can win it another year.’

“He was honored to be there,” he said.

Butler’s selection as the Junior Male Competitor of the Year came as a result of his outstanding performance in tournaments during the last year, Rudd said.

After the banquet on Friday, the Isshinryu HOF tournament was held at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Six members of Andalusia’s Isshinryu Karate class attended the tournament and competed in three divisions — weapons, kata and fighting.

The local students brought home 18 trophies, including nine first place finishes.

Andalusia competitors placed as follows:

• Garrett Blackston — first place in green belt fighting, kata and weapons;

• Taj Patel — fourth place in green belt fighting; and second place in green belt kata and weapons;

• Caleb Blackston — first place in green belt fighting, kata and weapons;

• Allen Butler — first place in black belt fighting and kata; and fourth place in black belt weapons;

• Kenny Blackston — third place in men’s brown belt heavy weight fighting; second place in men’s brown belt kata and weapons;

• Mark Rudd — second place in men’s black belt heavy weight fighting; first place in men’s black belt Master’s division weapons; and fourth place in men’s black belt Master’s division kata.

More info on the IHOF can be found on its website at www.ihof.us.